Say cheese for Mother’s Day

Photographer Lynn Christoffers gives free photos to mothers on their special day.


Mother’s Day has its tried and true traditions, like flowers and brunch (or breakfast in bed, if you’re lucky), but for those who want to try something different, local photographer Lynn Christoffers has another option for you.

On Saturday, Ms. Christoffers hosted her second annual portrait pop-up at the West Tisbury library for Mother’s Day. Mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sons, and even the occasional dad lined up to have their pictures taken for free. Using only natural light and her charismatic personality, Christoffers posed multigenerational family groups for memorable, fun photos in the Children’s Room.

“I’ve had older mothers and daughters, even three generations, and the energy changes, but you just have to be natural and make them smile,” Ms. Christoffers said.

Ms. Christoffers has been photographing children for many years, and says they are one of her favorite subjects, along with cats. (She is the creative talent behind the “Cats of Martha’s Vineyard” book.) Ms. Christoffers received her master’s in photography from New York University, where she studied at the International Center of Photography. While in New York, she exhibited bodies of work that featured children’s energy.

“It’s exciting to see what you get; I learn something every time I take a picture,” Ms. Christoffers said. “I am particularly interested in portraiture and people, and also the relationship between parents and children and mothers and babies. I like to capture that relationship. I think it’s a loving relationship.”

She had the idea for the portrait pop-up last year as a way to give back to the community. Participants sit for an informal session that involves a lot of laughing, a few different angles, and they are emailed their photos in one to two weeks. Families can print out the pictures at their own convenience, or just post them on Facebook.

It was a welcome addition to many Mother’s Day celebrations. Over 30 family groups had their picture taken last year. This year the weather may have caused a few moms to hang at home in their pajamas on their special day, but Ms. Christoffers said the day was fun and filled with fidgety kids.

Jennifer Langhammer came in for a sitting with her daughter Connecticut Langhammer and mother Cecily Greenaway. After being photographed at last year’s session with her daughter, Ms. Langhammer wanted to come back with her mother. Connecticut has since gotten braces, and was eager to flash a toothy grin and pose for the camera. Ms. Langhammer said she normally has brunch and spends the day with her family on Mother’s Day, but the portrait sessions gave her something extra to celebrate.

Hope Macleod also came to sit for pictures with her children Finn Macleod and Linden Macleod, and mother Barbara Murphy. After that group, Rachel Rooney sat with her daughter and husband. During a rare lull, Sarah Waldman and her son Gray came into the library to play with finger puppets. They did not come in specifically to get their picture taken, but it only took one word from Ms. Christoffers to get Gray up onto the couch. He went from shy to showy in under a minute, posing for the camera until the next group came in for their session. Gray was reluctant to get off the couch, but eagerly ran back to his mom to pick up their puppet story line.

“I’ve never had a baby I can’t make smile,” Ms. Christoffers said.