I’ve been thinking a lot about photos and life. Sometimes a photograph can be more beautiful than the reality (hello, photoshop!) Sometimes a photograph can fail to capture the magnificence of reality (e.g., vacation photos of the grand canyon.)
I spend a lot of time trying to make beautiful photos. It gives me pleasure, it’s a creative outlet, an escape.
This past weekend in my household was difficult. We are all (except for my 5 year old) stretched too thin with too many commitments, obligations, and interests. There were times when the chaos, the comings and goings, the desires and tensions of a family of six were a lot to handle.
And there were times when I sat editing the photos of an orchid that recently began reblooming. As I cropped, enhanced sharpness, fixed the color, beautified these photographs, I thought of some of the less than beautiful moments I’d experienced in my own house in the past few hours – children hitting one another, panicked searches for lost gloves and more than one imperious “leave me alone!” I thought about the contrast between the noisy reality going on in my life and the serene calmness in the photos I was trying to create.
By working to beautify my photos, am I trying to ‘fake’ my life into something its not? Am I trying to pretend I have a more perfect life? That is certainly not my intent, yet, I hear time and again “pinterest makes me feel guilty” or too much time on facebook, looking at photos of other people finishing triathalons, celebrating with friends, and posing with their beautiful families, makes people feel depressed.
I don’t post ‘real’ and gritty photos because that’s not what I want to see when I go online and because, well, it just seems like that would be boring. Maybe that’s why other people tend to post their photos of happy moments too. Who wants to celebrate, share, dwell on the negative?
I was intrigued recently, when I came across this post, Reality Reframed, by Tracey Clark. I particularly like the way she shows the relationship between a snapshot of real life and a selective, edited, artistic photo. I like the idea of trying to find the beauty in everyday life. I like the idea that the act of making something, even a simple edited photograph, is an escape, antidote, a salve against the chaos and ugliness that can be real life.