A Shadow, A Mother, A Sender (or Shared Pictures of ourselves)

by Carolin Aronis

We take pictures of our children, 

but we actually take pictures of ourselves.

We are there

through them, 

and through what we chose to capture

(also the background, their clothes, 

the distance we hold). 

We are there via our sight, hands, and posture,

holding the smartphone to connect us together. 

To take these pictures we operate 

in the public streets, 

immersed in an outside view, 

in and for the community

to view. 

These images, 


are not ours.

We are neither their subject nor their owners.

We are not at all their matter (…only the mother). 

We are just the photographer, 

just the body that holds and look, 

just a footnote 

or being noted:

as the sender, mother, mediator. 

Playing with mediation means agreeing to live with and within the technology, 

not by its end;

it means hesitantly reclaiming

one’s own shadow from within images that are not our own. 

A walk in the park today. February, 27, 2021.

Photographer: Carolin Aronis

Carolin Aronis is an international Research Fellow of Communication Studies at Colorado State University and a Postdoctoral Scholar in Communication at the University of Colorado Boulder. She studies gender, power, identity, and the essence of media and communication. In the coming P/I/K volume she has a chapter on how the smartphone camera reconstructs mothers’ relationships with their children and community. She can be reached at

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