Cindy Crawford has spent her life in front of the camera, but her most treasured shots come from her own family albums.   

By Jennifer Ferrise
Nov 06, 2018 @ 9:00 am
Sergiy Barchuk

If I ever had to get out of my house really quickly because of a fire, what would I take? Besides my children and my pets, I know for certain that I would grab my photo albums. 

Growing up, I always liked to take pictures, and then when I started modeling, I would carry my camera around to document all the amazing places I traveled to. I remember walking around Paris like a tourist, snapping photos and thinking, “Oh my gosh, am I ever going to be here again?” But it wasn’t until later, when I met my husband, Rande [Gerber], that I finally started organizing all of my favorite shots.

My friend, makeup artist Sonia Kashuk, gave me my first photo album as a gift in the late ’90s. It was the most beautiful leather-bound book, and it inspired me to print all the pictures from when Rande and I were dating. I started laying out the photos with amusing little captions to go with each one so that when my mom or Rande’s mom would come to visit and I was cooking dinner, I could just hand them an album and say, “This is what we were up to this year.”

Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images

Then, of course, when we had [our children] Presley and Kaia, we took so many more pictures. We wanted to remember every single moment with them. Rande and I would switch off taking photos of the kids, but to be honest, he’s more of the photographer and I’m more of the editor of our albums. That way I can tell the narrative of our year, and I also get to pick the better shots of me [laughs].

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Our albums are full of the things that every family does—birthday parties, vacations, recitals, holidays. They’re all candid snapshots, nothing professional like when we were photographed by Peter Lindbergh or anything like that.

I’ve put together 15 albums so far, about one a year, and I’m surprised by how much we actually refer to them. For Kaia’s birthday, Rande will look through them so he can find a photo to post on Instagram of him with Kaia when she was little. Or if it’s Halloween, I’ll say to Rande, “Do we have a picture from that time when we dressed up as Marilyn Manson and Courtney Love?” Just yesterday Kaia had a friend over, and they pulled an album off our shelf in the family room to flip through.

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For me, these albums have always been the best reminder about how quickly time goes by. When I see the shots of my kids running around as babies, it puts the biggest smile on my face. People always say how much the kids look like Rande and me, but when I look at them, I don’t really see the resemblances. I just see them. Kaia and I have similar mannerisms, though, which I notice in the way we gesture with our hands and in our facial expressions. Presley is very much like Rande in those same ways. I look back so fondly on all the stages of their lives. Even now, it’s so exciting to see each of them becoming their own person.

With our phones and Instagram, we all spend time with pictures differently now, so making an actual photo album seems to be one of those things that have fallen by the wayside. It actually makes me treasure mine even more. They’re everything to me because they tell the story of my life.

—As told to Jennifer Ferrise.

For more stories like this, pick up the December issue of InStyle, available on newsstands, on Amazon, and for digital download Nov. 9.