Sunday, September 1, 2019

This Is Real Life

"Is this real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality.
Open your eyes, look up to the skies and see, I'm just a poor boy, I need no sympathy.
Because I'm easy come, easy go, little high, little low
Any way the wind blows doesn't really matter to me, to me."
Bohemian Rhapsody ~ Queen 

I'm sorry if those lyrics are stuck in your head now. They have been stuck in mine all week, so I thought I would share.

This was week 2 or Module 2 of the photography class I am taking - A Month of Multiples taught by Kim Klassen. The theme this week was documenting real life. There was a slew of suggestions for what to do for your real life series. I decided to document my daily morning walks with Atticus and make it a five day series. We would explore one of our favorite destinations every morning. 

Of course the "finish" of the daily walk/project was posting the photos from our morning walk as a Story on Instagram. I chose to use the new-to-me app Unfold. I can not express enough how much I love this app. Now, Instagram on the other hand, I have a love/hate relationship with. 

Photo Credit: Karen Lakis

On the hashtag #amonthofmultiples you will see a lot of beautiful photos, but I have to question - is this real life? And even my personal friends where posting photos of dreamy walks, gorgeous flowers and tranquil morning coffee scenes. And I am taking photos like this...

On the surface, people would call me out and say my photos were dreamy and tranquil as well, but the reality is that for every ten I took, I got one where Atticus was looking at the camera, and not ripping the flowers off a bush at a public garden, or munching on a stick, or yanking on my arm as I tried to push the shutter button on my phone. 

That is real life. Why are we afraid to share what real life looks like? The clutter, the mess, the upside down photos, which yes can be fixed, but isn't the story better in the original version?

I will occasionally look back at my daughter's early years and let out a sigh of frustration. Why did the counters have to have so much stuff on them? Why was my house so messy? Oh right! Because I lived there and had a young child with toys and two dogs, and not a lot of storage space. That was real life. 

If you looked at my counter right now you would see a tray of blueberries drying, two loaves of hot, out-of-the-oven banana chocolate chip bread cooling, an open box of crackers, a half eaten cheese board, and a half empty bottle of wine, a calculator (no idea why that is out), and an open recipe binder. I no longer have a young child, most days only one dog, and I have lots of storage, but still the clutter remains.

When I talked to my friend about her tranquil morning coffee with her grand pup, I realized it wasn't as tranquil as it seemed. She was trying to balance a cup of coffee, her camera and hold the pup's leash, and get a decently composed shot. All is not as it seems. Tranquility comes with work. After seeing her photo, I tried to duplicate a similar one with Atticus, minus the coffee. It looks pretty good, but in reality he is trying to eat that leaf on the ground. Thankfully the blur diminishes that reality.

I love taking and sharing a beautiful photo as much as anybody else, but there is a whole lot of real life that happens before that photo become reality.

My Instagram feeds for both my Atticus Adventures @paisleyandatticus and my feed for my art and photography @twistedroadstudio will never be influencer perfect, but they will be real.

**Thanks to my friend Karen for allowing me to use her photograph and for the great conversation this week about real life and everything in-between.  Please check out her blog Gingham Notebook for her take on real life.


Karen Lakis said...

Oh I love this - made me chuckle out loud. It’s so true, what it takes to get our best photos. You don’t even want to see my counter right now. When I see your photos, it’s hard to imagine that Atticus would be anything other than the perfect model. I say to Chessie at least several times a day “you are no photographer’s dog” - good thing she doesn’t understand... I really enjoyed this post - it gives me the inspiration to go out there and keep on trying. Through all the real life photos, I’ll continue to work toward the ones that are “Instagram worthy”

Beverly said...

The scenario of posting real life pictures also reminds me of those days, with those young children and pets, the house a wreck, and someone, a friend, decided to "drop in" unannounced! The expectations put on people in many circumstance are a tad bit high, and over-rated, just maybe? I love your upside-down picture and reading how Atticus was eating off the ground. Loved reading this.

Cathy H. said...

Oh, I love this post! Real life, yes we do tend to not show that! This made me chuckle! I can just see Atticus pulling on the lease and you yelling, wait I need to take a picture! Maybe we need to do a series like "let us see your bad side!"

Carola Bartz said...

I saw your photos on Instagram and love them. I share your thoughts about IG photos always looking so perfect or beautiful or calm or (fill in appropriate word). Maybe they don't look like this to the posters though, since they know what is behind that photo, or what happened before to take that picture. I don't think my photos on IG fit any of the above categories, but from the reactions I get other people seem to think they fit. Maybe those photos only show the "real life" (whatever that is) to the photographer, but the observer sees something completely different.

Unknown said...

I love the description of Atticus yanking the leash and nibbling on everything he can find. Not that I can imagine a beagle ever doing that (insert eye roll!).

But yeah, our lovely pictures don't do a very good showing the reality of every day.

I couldn't find the post about scratching the car, but I found an old one where I wrote about chaos from everyday life. It should give you a good laugh!