The invention of the camera was a huge breakthrough and cameras continue to get better and better, but didn’t we invent the camera to capture our memories?
If we have cameras to capture memories and moments that we will remember forever, then why does everything seem to revolve around photos that are posed, unrealistic, or severely photo shopped? Don’t get me wrong, I am just as guilty, I just have to wonder when things changed?
The easy example of this is magazines, models, and social media. We focus so much on photos that we see of celebrities, models, and people’s social media posts. Unfortunately, the truth behind these things is that most are very posed, took several shots and extensive editing to get, and are imagined creative scenes that don’t depict real life. So I ask, when we are all very well aware of this, why is this what we strive for and judge when others don’t fit the standard?
The other example that we don’t think of as often is similar to those social media posts, family photos. Photos of our children that we have taken, family shots that we taken for cards, invitations, and announcements, and selfies on snap chat with filters that clear up and tan your skin, slim your cheeks, add make up, and a pretty hair accessory so everyone can look “beautiful”.
Newborn photos are one of the most expensive photo sessions for several reasons. It takes a lot of time to pose a newborn in a cute position. You need a space heater in order to keep the newborn warm because everyone wants naked newborn photos. Naked newborn photos also mean that you likely have a lot of laundry because babies have no bladder control; which is why it makes so much sense to put them naked on a white blanket. The editing is also very time consuming because their skin is airbrushed several times to make it look flawless. Why do we do that when newborns skin is not flawless, and that’s what makes them perfect? Why do we pose them in positions and dress them in outfits that they will never wear again because we bought them strictly for photos? When we look back what picture is going to be more important, the one we can look at and say aww she looks so cute with wings on her back, curled up naked on a white fur blanket (probably sitting in her own pee at that point), with that hat she wore strictly for that picture that someone spent hours making by hand specifically for her? What will we remember about that photo? Will we remember anything other than she looked cute? Or will we remember the photo that someone captured of you and baby passed out on the couch together after not sleeping the night before and being so exhausted you literally couldn’t move if you tried?
Family photos, we worry so much about getting the perfect family photo. We wear matching outfits, try to pose everyone just perfectly while we bribe our children and animals with treats just to sit still and look at the camera for a couple quick minutes. We stress over something as small as accidently leaving a hair binder on your wrist, or the fact that something wandered into the background of your photo and it ruined the photo completely. The photographer spends hours upon hours weeding through the millions of photos they took just to find a select few that “turned out”. Once they select those, they spend more time airbrushing, adjusting, and photoshopping so that your pictures look just perfect. When did perfect become something airbrushed and photo shopped? Why are we so set on obtaining photos of “memories” that take that much time and effort to concoct. Will we ever really think about that time someone posed us in our matching outfits and how cute we looked . . . right before we ran home changed out of those clothes we will never wear again and ran through the house like a tornado leaving toys, dishes, and laundry in our path. I know I won’t, and yet I’m guilty of the same. We took family photos for Christmas cards this year where we all wore matching outfits and went outside in November in Duluth, MN with bare feet because our 12 year old didn’t have nice shoes at our house, and used our shed as a backdrop because the wood looked nice. It took several takes and between that and trying to get newborn photos several hours throughout the day, plus props, outfit changes, and food brides. The truth behind those photos . . . a mom who spent all morning trying to get the kids dressed in their clothes without getting them dirty, and barely had time to get ready herself. A toddler who had to stay up past nap time just so we could get pictures and was very crabby because of it. A 3 week old baby outside while it ‘s cold in bare feet quickly getting wrapped up in a blanket after every photo, a dog outside of her usual radius so she wouldn’t take her eye off of mom to make sure she wouldn’t get in trouble, and a twelve year old who waited until the very last minute to change out of his sweats and into his jeans, and raced to change back into his sweats as soon as the last picture was taken. Why all this? Simply so others could see how cute our family is? How picture perfect we can look. Reality check; we are not perfect and we don’t strive to be. We work to pay bills and often have to have discussions if we need something new and expensive. I try so hard to keep my house clean and all to often realize that it’s a never ending battle and an impossible one at that. My toddler throws tantrums, and gets time outs. We are not perfect parents and we do make mistakes. We come home and put on sweatpants and sweatshirts and dinners consist of whatever we have in the house that night. We are not flawless and we are not “picture perfect”, but we are fun and there is endless amounts of love and respect in this house.
I will always remember the memories we have, the tantrums, the couch snuggles, the arguments over bed time, the requests for extra hugs before bed time, the pajama days where we do puzzles, and the tough times where we take care of each other; but I probably won’t remember what my family wore or how cute we looked on our Christmas cards this year.
Don’t stress on “picture perfect”, when reality is so much more fun!