The Beauty of a Photo | Appreciating Someone Else's Art
The other day, I went out to coffee with a friend. At a point, we started talking about Under A Tin Roof and how things were going. Honestly, I could talk about my business all day. It’s really just a major part of my life, because it is my life. For me, my business and my life are the same thing. Sometimes, it feels separated between the blog and the products. The products are definitely more of Jill’s domain, while I like to take photographs and rant about the things we’re up to here on the blog. I always wanted to be a writer, though I never thought writing about myself and our lives here on our homestead would be the things I would be writing about. Either way, we were talking about the blog, and she mentioned that a friend of hers had looked up our website. Of course, I was embarrassed. It feels so odd to have people that lives close to you read your blog rather than someone who lives a thousand miles away. Why is that? Maybe because they can more easily run into you?
This friend of hers had said, “Yes, I looked up Under A Tin Roof, and I was so surprised - is that even real? Her photos look like a magazine!”
We both laughed a little. Did it really? Did my life look like magazine to someone else? Of course, we both knew that my life was anything but that - it was toddler meltdowns and stained t-shirts and puffy eyes. It was chicken poop and dirty garden hands and sloppy kitchen counters. I tried to think of the other people online that I adore so much because of their beautiful photos, kind of realizing that I had turned myself into one of those people, but in all reality - that was actually my life. And that brought me to the thought of how others perceive the photography we now see on social media.
It’s hard, isn’t it? Some days you just want to punch somebody because their house is cleaner than yours or they have a better dust pan than you do. Why is their dust pan so freaking gorgeous? Mine is from Wal-Mart, and it looks like my dog chewed on the handle. Maybe your dog did chew on the handle. And then after your wave of envy subsides, you realize, why do I even care? Because my life is beautiful to me.
But there are some people who can’t just leave it at that. I stumbled across this really terrible website a couple of months ago. It was basically just this big long forum of ranting people talking about how much they hate lifestyle bloggers and Instagrammers. It was really sad, and I felt awful reading it. I felt awful because even though nobody really cares who I am right now, I was afraid maybe people were looking at me that way, and I also felt the pang of their jealousy and frustration as well. I didn’t want to seem like I was trying to make my life look perfect, or that I was neglecting my kid because I was taking his picture. What was the point of being mad at someone for taking nice photographs? But it wasn’t about the photograph, it was about the person behind it, and it kind of hit me.
We forget that there are real people behind those screens, you know? We forget that no matter how beautiful the photo or the house or the child or the human is in the photograph, there’s another person there taking the shot and styling it. And what’s wrong with that? To many Instagrammers, I think they’re sharing their lifestyle with you because 1. it’s nice to have someone to connect with and talk to who shares a similar value to you, and 2. it’s art to them. At least, it’s art to me! It’s an inspiring community, here on this little corner of the internet that I interact with. It’s freedom of expression and beautiful homes. It’s a place where I say, “Oh, my crappy old dust pan could look cute if I looked at it in a different way.”
I think that’s where my personal life has improved drastically. I was so focused on comparison and not changing anything in my life, that it would make me feel defeated. Instead, I started working towards making the things I already had more of a use to me and more of a beauty in my own eyes. When I take a photograph of my kitchen or of my greenhouse, it’s beautiful to me, and I think that’s what makes it beautiful to others, too. So no, my life isn’t a magazine or perfection or beautiful every single day. And maybe you don’t think it is either, but I find it really wholesome and beautiful in my eyes, even the messy parts. I’m just getting tired of watching people get mad about someone else’s art. It’s their art and their life, your opinion doesn’t matter. Try looking at what you have and turning it into something beautiful today instead.