Lies, truth, and photos.

Let’s talk about photography.

It’s one of the biggest parts of this blog, one of the most enjoyable hobbies in my life. Whether it is an official wedding, or just photos of our weekend, I love getting behind the camera and then sharing what comes out. Last spring before I left for Paris, I did a couple photoshoots that never made it to this blog before I left the country.  I decided that rather than scattering them here and there, I am just going to post them all this week, inundating you in one rush of babies and love. Brace yourself.

But I also decided that I wanted to take some time at the beginning and end of the week to talk about photography, to share with you some of the photographers I love and whose work I follow. I feel it is only fitting to start with the main medium of photography in many of our lives… Instagram.

I, like many of you, have a love-hate relationship with the grams. I genuinely enjoy taking and sharing photos, looking for little pieces of beauty around me. I love seeing photos of my friends and family around the world, catching up on minutes from their daily lives without the onslaught of articles and opinions that often clutter up Facebook. I like Instagram.

But then again, sometimes it is just too much. Sometimes everyone’s life looks more perfect than mine, everyone’s home better decorated, everyone’s dinner both healthier and tastier, everyone’s vacations more exciting, and everyone’s personal appearance better groomed. Sometimes I scroll through my feed and find myself liking both myself, and everyone I’m following, less.

And the thing is, I know it’s all an illusion. I know that they are using the same filters I am, that they too dragged dinner into the living room because the light is better, that they too trudged down the street for a better wall in front of which to take that Outfit of the Day picture. I know that they picked the moment when their kid was still clean and not crying, that they are sharing the rare date night, and that usually their laundry is also unfolded for days on end, acting as a modern art installment in the living room. I know this, because we are all the same under all those filters.

And yet. Sometimes, the truth I know doesn’t change the lie that I believe, the lie that I am less somehow because others are more.

“Just another casual day at the park! #blessed #itsthesimplethings ” (Photo via here.)

Which is why I recently instituted a policy. If someone’s pictures start making me hate on myself on a regular basis, I unfollow them. If someone’s feed is fostering in me the sins of envy, greed, pride, and discontent — I unfollow them. If I find myself smugly judging someone because of the pictures they post, I unfollow them, because that’s not the type of person I want to be. It’s not to punish them, to teach them post differently (because let’s be real- they probably do not notice), it’s to protect myself, and to try to make sure that the apps filling my day actually add to my life and perpetual character development. In a medium like Instagram where some people are sharing daily life, and others are curating business presences (both of which are totally legitimate uses), I find that this is the best way for me to keep my balance and my sanity.

On the other hand, there are some people who show up in my feed like a breath of fresh air. Their words challenge me, their pictures make me smile, and their presence brightens my day. Some of these people are “big deal” grammars, people with thousands of followers, and some are people who only bless a tiny corner of the Internet. None of these people are professional photographers or stylists, though I will be sharing some of those that I love later in the week.IMG_3050

Some rays of cyber sunshine in a dark world of self-judgement and comparison:

@Lydialovesmarcus // In a world where it seems like everyone is going minimal, rocking neutral colors and proudly sporting undone face and hair, Lydia is a welcome reprieve of color, bold lipstick, and big southern do’s.

@frandorsey // No one makes me laugh on the grams as consistently as Fran, but she punctuates her jokes and endearing self-deprecation with words that leave me thinking.(PS: Fran also wrote a great post on Instagram and comparison here… maybe my Internet claim to fame is that I do know this woman a little in real life.)

@hannahacarpenter // This woman makes me excited about having children someday, because she shows how fun, how unpredictable, and how zany life with little people can be.

@foundandfavored // Sometimes the sweetness of someone’s soul just shines through the Internet, and that’s how I feel about Lauren and her simple and beautiful posts.

What about you all? How do you keep the grams in check, or do you find it unnecessary? Who are the people who shed a little happy light in your own feed?

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12 Responses to Lies, truth, and photos.

  1. laxgirl9110 says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I don’t know why, but I’ve been wanting to pick your brain and try to become besties haha. Creepiness aside, I love this little list of IGers! I’m excited to experience life through their eyes 🙂 thanks Hannah!

  2. Rebekah says:

    I do the same thing. If I find that someone’s posts are making me cranky, unhappy, envious, or annoyed, away they go! They won’t miss me anyway. 🙂

    Grammers whose posts always make me happy when they pop up, for very different reasons:

  3. Thanks for this post Hannah – I recently went through this process too, wanting to remove the negative impact Facebook had on my life, and trying to limit MY access to it so I stopped feeling like everyone else’s life was more exciting than mine.
    In fact, thanks for all your posts Hannah – I started following your blog (then your Instagram) years ago – I think your first anniversary post was the first one I saw (six months after my wedding) – because even though I am halfway around the world (in dreary, grey, freezing cold Melbourne right now) I felt that you said what I was feeling and thinking and wanting to say – but with better pictures.
    So thanks for all the years so far of sharing your life with me, and for your insights today.
    Erin (Melbourne, Australia).

  4. austinschneider88 says:

    Oh man, do I love this. As much as I love scrolling through, I often leave IG feeling much worse about myself than I did before. Your policy about unfollowing those who make you feel that way really resonates with me. Also, your #blessed and #itsthesimplethings cracked me up and made me awkwardly laugh in my quiet office. Basically you’re responsible if people think I’m losing it.

  5. Pingback: Photos that stop time. | The Art in Life

  6. Lisa says:

    This is refreshing x 10! I have started loving photography more because of blogging and the ‘gram’ too.

    I really enjoy the photos of a certain hannah! Honestly, I need to go through and find a few more specifics. If you like rural scenes and a messy smattering of everything else my own @DairyCowGal probably fits the bill. 😉

  7. E.H says:

    Convicting, Hannah. Thanks for your thoughts on this.

  8. E.H says:

    You are like the grown-up, modern Shirley Temple in my eyes: happy, peppy, positive, but also honest and realistic. YOU are one of those people that I get excited to see in my newsfeed. You inspire me to embrace each moment and to consider things about my faith, life, future, marriage, etc. in a different light. ❤ I admire you a great deal!

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