Photography can tell a story that often looks more glamorous than living life actually is. Life has its ups and downs, but most of the time, that is not what is captured through photography, nor shared through social media. Many of us want to live in that place, those moments in time where it seems like life on earth could be perfect. When we see photo streams on peoples’ wall feeds of their happiness, it can make us rethink our own happiness and worth. Am I a good parent? Do I work hard enough? Why am I not more adventurous? We see a constant barrage of those moments in which others are living the good life. The reality, and one that we rarely stop to think about, is that everyone is broken, we all have flaws, bills to pay, a lack of patience, and a number of other things that are rarely captured on film or shared on social media. No, I am not encouraging you to bust out your phone the next time you and your spouse are having an argument and snapping a selfie of the fight to post to Instagram. However, I am encouraging you to remember that we all have struggles and should seek relationships in which we can be vulnerable and share how we truly feel…
We live in an interesting world. It has changed quite a bit in the last century, and especially in the last decade. As technology has advanced, people have become inundated with other people’s “perfect lives” through social media. We are all guilty of it. We have a certain Facebook or Twitter persona, an idealized version of ourselves that we want everyone to believe is true. Don’t get me wrong, I do think social media can be positive and uplifting (the ALS ice bucket challenge being a prime example), but I also believe that social media can be one of the most egotistical, and self-centered forms of communication that exists in today’s world. Let me pause there and say that I myself use social media every day. I think it is great, but I also think that it can do some psychological damage to us if we are not careful, as well as replace meaningful relationships for something that is more watered down.
Social media is the most socially accepted form of bragging and showing off. I am guilty of it as well, “look at my cute daughter and all the things she’s doing, or look at all my amazing photography.” By the way, please like it, because I NEED you to like it. I end up judging myself and my worth on how many likes I can get on a photograph on my photography business page. My worth is so much more valuable than virtual likes, and so is yours. Now, I am not telling you to boycott social media, but I am encouraging you to take a step back and think about what social media does to us. How many times have you been with someone and instead of having a conversation with them, either you or they are on their phone, updating their status?
As a photographer it is my job to capture the joy of a child or that love between two people, and when it’s captured, it creates something magical, something almost transcendent. Combining the right light with that perfect moment can make life seem more glamorous than it actually is. My challenge and encouragement to you is that you would celebrate those good moments in life, but to know that there are going to be tough moments as well. Let’s not hide under this fallacy that our lives or others peoples lives are perfect. Let’s be real with each other and vulnerable. And lets put the phones down long enough to enjoy one another’s company.