When I look back at my childhood and even my early teens, photos were something we took on school trips, family holidays and at special events. I remember we used to take disposable cameras on school trips and saved our more fancy digital camera for holidays and trips where my parents could keep it safe. We rarely knew what the photo would look like until the films were developed, or we could see them on an absolutely miniscule screen which wasn’t really worth investing any time in. We always put photos in albums whilst growing up and it’s so nice now having them to look back on now.
What’s weird is that the albums stopped when I got to the age of about 14.
Digital cameras really became a big thing and getting films developed, as well as films themselves, became a thing of the past. The end of a holiday led to the upload of photos onto a computer or laptop and browsing them with family and friends, or sometimes not looking at them until weeks after, as you’d reviewed them so many times on screen you had seen them before. The number of crappy, useless photos went through the roof and those family photos with everyone in also multiplied as they were taken four or five times until everyone was happy with the way they looked.
Then in comes Social Media – where photo sharing has reached new heights. I love myself a good instagram and for me personally browsing people’s photos has become somewhat of an addiction. But I also realise most of what I see is, to some extent, a lie. You see an aesthetically pleasing, colour themed instagram and end up in some ways envious. Well, I know I do for sure. It might be a school friend, a blogger, and random stranger posting their fitness journey, or their outfit for an night out. Now, I am in no way trying to say that everything on instagram is fake. But I can guarantee that in over 90% of cases, the picture perfect lives we see have been edited to be as beautiful as they are. And at the base of it all, the ones publishing these photos are human and live lives just as we do. That girl who always posts photos of her boyfriend will still sometimes get annoyed at him if he tumble dries her new jumper. That fitness blogger who always posts photos of clean meals will undoubtedly order a Sunday night Domino’s at some point.
I’m not going to lie and pretend I won’t be trying to get those instagram shots and taking 20 photos on my work Christmas night out to decide not one of them makes my outfit look good enough. I enjoy taking a good photo and I love looking through my own instagram at the memories I have shared. And I don’t blame others for wanting to do that too.
What I am vowing to do is make the most of the photos we take when no one is watching. I want to stop comparing my life to those of others I see on instagram, or if I do, think about the person behind the theme. I also want everyone to remember how fantastic it is to look through photos of the moments you don’t always want to share, because they’re probably the ones with the most genuine memories.
I don’t know what I am hoping to gain from this Sunday afternoon ramble, but maybe I can help someone to stop making comparisons and also remind myself how important it is to enjoy the moment and not wish it to be more picture perfect. Our own lives are picture perfect in their own little way.