Against Perfection: A Manifesto
As a photographer, one of the things I come up against the most is the pervasive feeling amongst families that they need to wait for the ‘perfect’ time for photos… This ‘perfection’ usually falls under one or more of three categories:
PERFECT APPEARANCE (“I need to wait until my hair grows / I lose my baby weight / I can afford some nice new clothes”)
PERFECT HOME (“I need to wait until we have a bigger house / we have stylish new furniture / we can get rid of that crap old wallpaper”)
PERFECT FAMILY (“I need to wait until my son stops having so many tantrums / my daughter’s ‘DIY’ fringe grows out / they stop picking their noses all the time”)
PERFECTION IS BORING
The problem with all of this? It all rides on the assumption that perfection = beauty.
The good news? This is absolute bollocks. Perfection is boring.
In today’s social media-obsessed, airbrushed and heavily filtered society, there is so much focus on aesthetics, ‘ideals’ and the superficial. We’re bombarded with everyone else’s polished versions of themselves, their homes and special occasions.
We’re led to believe that beauty lies in flawless skin, sleek hair, perfect bodies, polished pouts, ‘best angles’, spotless fashionable clothes, immaculate houses, designer furniture or stylish rooms straight out of Pinterest or Instagram.
But to me, this is all as mind-numbingly dull as flicking through a catalogue.
In the nicest possible way, I honestly don’t care what you look like, what clothes you’re wearing, or what your house looks like.
TRUE BEAUTY LIES IN EMOTION AND CONNECTION
It goes without saying that I’ll make sure you look radiant like the absolute dudes that you are (horrendously unflattering photos are no more my bag than yours, don’t worry!)
But my priority is not how you look, it’s how you FEEL. I don’t believe beauty lies in perfection, I believe it lies in emotion and connection.
I see true beauty in obscene, mouth-wide-open belly laughs, wild hair from breezy walks and tickling frenzies, screwed up faces from too-hard squeezes, muddy knees, sticky fingers, hand-me-downs, paint smears, laughter lines, daft costumes, snotty noses, messy dens and real, lived-in family homes full of life, energy and laughter.
I’m anti filter, anti perfection…. I stand for the beauty of family life and love in all its messy, comical, adventure-filled, heart-bursting glory.
In this selfie-obsessed world, so many people don’t realise that the times when you really look your most beautiful are not when you’re gazing alluringly into a mirror or camera lens. It’s during moments of genuine connection with your loved ones – the way you look at your children, the way they look at you, the way you reach out to each other, the way you hold each other, the joy you give each other.
THAT is where the true beauty lies, THAT is when you shine and light up the most, THAT is ‘perfection’. It’s such a shame that so many parents never get to really see themselves like this.
Don’t underestimate how much it’ll mean to both you and your children to be able to look back on the beauty of this love and joy between you in the years ahead.
THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE, RIGHT UNDER YOUR NOSE, RIGHT NOW
Don’t let your anxiety about ‘perfection’ lead you to miss out on getting in those precious pictures with your children. As much as it might feel like it does right now, none of the superficial stuff actually matters. If you wait for the ‘perfect’ time and place, you’ll miss out on remembering how your family is now, totally perfect exactly as it is.
So embrace the life, the body, the home, the family you have right now, as ‘imperfect’ as any of it might be. In 20 years time, you’ll not care less about any of the ‘imperfections’, or you might even surprise yourself by looking back fondly and wistfully on it all. And the rest? You’ll treasure it all beyond belief.
THESE are the best days, THIS is the good stuff. Stop looking past it and celebrate being right here in the messy, imperfect, chaotic, magical thick of it. The best and most beautiful things in life are here, right under your nose, right now.
SOME FREE STUFF FOR YOU!
FREE PDF: 5 TIPS FOR TAKING GREAT PHOTOS OF YOUR KIDS
A little pdf I put together containing some simple techniques to get better photos of your kids – these are applicable no matter what camera you’re using, phone, DSLR, compact, anything 🙂
FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY E-BROCHURE
Please feel free to download my family photography e-brochure if you think you’d like me to come and capture a bit of your own family’s magic 🙂
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Take care folks and enjoy those lovely families of yours!
Tips, inspiration and resources to inject some joy & lighten the load
Manchester family photographer, for down-to-earth, adventurous, big-hearted families all across the North West, London and UK
Creative, documentary family photography in Manchester, Liverpool, Lancashire, Cheshire, Yorkshire, London
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