As a lover of photography, I’ve always been the girl behind the lens. When I was 13, I took my first photography class and never looked back. It’s been one of my passions ever since. I took more classes when I entered high school and made sure to practice a lot and research new techniques in my free time. I submitted a photography portfolio for my Advanced Placement art exam too. Finally, I started asking my friends and family to be my subjects for creative photoshoots. After doing all that photography, I noticed a common thread. If you wanted to get a good photo, you would pay close attention to angles, lighting, and focus. If I could work those three things, no matter my subject, my photos would turn out incredibly. That’s what makes photography such a beautiful art. I loved it then, and I love it now.
“With everyone looking so perfect all the time, it’s easy to begin to feel like there’s something wrong with you when you don’t look like them.”
Eventually, traditional digital photography gave rise to a new era of photography. With social media, online influence, and blogging, the way we take photos has been elevated to another level. It’s changing so quickly, and honestly, it’s incredible. I see so many creative photos and videos just scrolling on my instagram feed. While it’s an amazing thing, it can be pretty damaging too. Everywhere you turn (or tap), you’ll find flawless, high quality, photos and videos of people you secretly want to be like but can’t. With everyone looking so perfect all the time, it’s easy to begin to feel like there’s something wrong with you when you don’t look like them.
We don’t only compare ourselves to people on instagram. It happens in real life too. How many times have you walked passed a beautiful stranger and thought, ‘If I could just look like her? If I just had her makeup? Or her clothes? What if my smile was as appealing as hers?” It’s easy to feel like the photos with the perfect angles, lighting, and focus are a reality. You forget that at the end of the day, the girl with the flawless makeup washes her face and puts her hair up into a bun.
Here’s the reality: no one looks just like their flawless photos on instagram and at the end of the day, the clothes, the makeup, and the lavish jewelry comes off. No one is perfect, no one is flawless.
Do you know what a photo is? It’s an image. Do you know what an image is? Here’s what google said:
An image is an artifact that depicts visual perception, for example, a photo or a two-dimensional picture, that has a similar appearance to some subject—usually a physical object or a person, thus providing a depiction of it.
We get things twisted when we start to believe that images are the real thing. They’re not. They only look like the real thing. So why are we comparing our real life to depictions of others? Practice enough, and you’ll eventually learn how to create the most flawless photos ever. And you know what? That’s great. I love photography but it’s a depiction of reality, not reality itself. It can be manipulated to conceal some things and emphasize others. The truth is, we don’t have to show the world anything we don’t want to.
Here’s another truth: YOU are the real deal. Your beautiful curves, your warm smile, your kind heart, and your bright eyes. The things you love about yourself and even the stuff you hate. Your quirks. Your ever growing passion. The way you light up a room. The encouragement you pour into your friends. Your listening ear. Even without the perfect angles. Even without the incredible lighting. Even if it’s not in focus.
So next time you’re scrolling through Instagram or flipping through a fashion magazine, next time you see the “perfect” girl walking down the street, stop and admire the beauty, sure. But don’t think that’s real life. You never know what’s going on behind the scenes. There’s more to consider than just what’s in the frame. YOU are fearfully and wonderfully made. God made no mistake when creating you. Embrace the fullness of the beauty within you and remember, an image is just that.