The phrase was coined in the early 20th century, and alluded to wedding photographs in which every detail was meticulously managed to create a perfect result. The definition: Having an appearance or quality that is exactly right; completely perfect. But, who's to say what "perfect" is, or how it applies to our family photos?
Orchestrated, posed photos are flawed memories. They don't capture real moments. They're often taken in locations that we hold no emotional attachment to. They don't allow us to remember things as they really were. And why? So we can perpetuate this idea of a picture perfect life?
If your family is anything like mine, there's plenty of chaos at any given time. Your son can't find whichever toy he's deemed his favorite that day. Your kids have decided that the basket of freshly washed and folded laundry would make an excellent hiding spot. Your daughter gets just as much marker on herself as she does on the paper. But in between those moments are the connections. The hug your son gives you when you help him find that lost toy. When the kids pitch in to help you refold those clothes (or at the very least match some socks, let's not expect miracles here.) Watching your marker clad daughter beam with pride as you hang her newest work of art on the fridge.
These moments are perfect because they're REAL. They're raw, and honest, and sometimes a little silly. And that's exactly how I want to remember them.
We need to dispel the myth of the picture perfect life. We need to redefine what perfect means to us. And when it comes to our family photos, I believe the perfect way to document our lives is in the most honest way possible, chaos and all.
If you're looking for someone to document the chaos and connections in your family, it would be my honor. Send me an email directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or get in touch here.