The Social Sham

{Photographs with Meaning vs Pinned Perfection}
Sussex Family Photography

Dad tickles toddler in a chair with affection and sweet laughter.

I’m just as guilty as the next person at getting lost down the social media rabbit hole. I remember when I learned about Pinterest. I literally spent hours on end pinning like a mad woman until the wee hours of the morning. This is pre-child, of course. I would make perfectly arranged pages of collaged beauty showing what I wanted my life to look like, recipes I would someday cook and things I would put in the queue to purchase. 

Toddler chases bubbles on the back patio.

Every time I come out of the other end of that dark social media perfection abyss, I feel like shit about my life. My house isn’t big enough. My garden is too small. I haven’t traveled enough. I don’t have enough of the stuff that I REALLY want. My clothes are too mom-ish. I need this, that and the other thing so my life can look like those pins that I love oh so much. 

The thing to keep front of mind when you choose to leap into the social media hole of doom is all that shit is made up. It’s made up to make us think other people have it better or easier than we do. It’s made by people who choose to put one aspect of their life online (and make it incredibly believable that they poop rainbows). It’s made up to make us want more. It’s made up to sell us things. 

Toddler sits in egg chair while dad blows bubbles toward her.

I have such a love hate relationship with social media. I mostly hate it. But being an international family and someone starting a business, it’s a necessary evil to keep in touch with people. I find it a sham. I find it a lie. (And I find it a giant evil corporation that steals all of our data to “help” us, but we can keep that to another conversation).

I have started to take more control over my social accounts. Crazy, right? Yes, you can control what you view! I have started to only follow things that I actually want to see. Things that make me laugh out loud, people I believe in, images that resonate with me and don’t make me feel inferior to someone else’s life. I encourage you to take a moment to do a social purge. Go on, it’s nearly the new year after all!

Uncle reads story to toddler and teen.

I’m proud to be a part of the documentary family photography movement. I’m proud to make photographs for families and businesses that are real, that are genuine, that make people appreciate what they have, that make people laugh, that spur some kind of emotion when people see them.

Documentary photography is, after all, a way to create a story and celebrate the everyday. It’s a way to make art that isn’t just a pretty picture. It is art that sparks conversation and memories. Documentary photography represents real people and real brands in an honest and thoughtful manner. Quite the opposite of all those pins. 

Find what you crave seeing more of and what makes you feel good. If you want more images made of your family, make images that will be coveted for generations by aging hands and fading memories. Capture moments of truth, not perfect poses in perfectly coordinated clothes. 

Find out more about documentary family photo sessions in Brighton and Sussex. Sign up for the newsletter full of great info about storytelling photography.