Yesterday my student staff had her graduation photos. After four long years, she was finally graduating from university. She looked gorgeous (and she is, too). When I asked her how the photoshoot went, she said the photographer told her to select the photos based on poses and not on blemishes because he would be Photoshopping it all out. It reminded me of my kids’ most recent school pictures (they were 3 and 1.5). My son had a big scratch on his cheek (a trophy from a fight with his big sister. He didn’t win.) that the photographer removed. I was kind of disappointed, because that scar had a story. If photographs are meant to be a snapshot of a moment in time and some of those moments are digitally removed, is it a real representation?
Obviously, there is sooo much discussion about real live v.s social media life. People only post photos of their happiest, cutest, most beautiful moments. But life isn’t like that. My kid cries for any reason (he’s 2, so he’s basically like a teenager-in-training). As I watched him have a hairy conniption yesterday I realized I’ve never seen a crying kid on my Facebook feed. Ever. If Facebook is an accurate representation of my friends’ lives, then my kid is in real trouble.
People are so obsessed with projecting a flawless image that we’re missing out on the truly candid moments. Obviously, there are so many advantages to digital images and the possibilities created with mobile devices. But I can’t be the only one who remembers the excitement going to the photo store and picking up the envelope of pictures and looking through all the photos, seeing a surprise photo or two, and sharing “doubles” with friends.
With the digital age we’re able to curate our lives in the moment. We can look at the photos we take, as soon as we take them, and post them to wherever, perhaps without much reflection. In the pursuit of portraying the perfect moment and idyllic life, we’re losing the authentic photos, where we’re ugly laughing, or making a silly face.
I know my kids are perfect (obviously), but I sure don’t mind capturing their less-than-perfect moments, battle wounds and all.*
*I don’t post photos of my kids online or on social media. But that’s for another post….