I have always loved and longed for professional family photo shoots, where the picture quality is so amazing that it makes your family look effortlessly and beautifully happy and in harmony with one another…picture perfect. I love professional photos because they erase the flaws of physical imperfections and emphasize the beauty of human relationship…the product of a literal thousand takes. So when my amateur photographer friend wanted to use my family as guinea pigs to test out her fancy expensive camera, of course I was more than willing to comply! We chose a beautiful setting, a botanical garden, at a golden dusk time of day, wearing our finest clothes and smiles. And after taking literally over a thousand shots, my friend’s natural eye caught some very eye-catching, picture perfect portraits. The takes were so frequent that each shot was like a moving picture. There was that one in a million shot where all three of us (my 20 month old included) were open-mouthed smiling and all looking directly at the camera. As I uploaded the best of the best shots to my social media, I was convicted that I was showing my best, and my family’s best, to my online friends. But was that picture perfect photo a true reflection of my family? Certainly it captured the joy and beauty and love of the moment, but there are also moments of pain, and trouble, and weariness, and frustration…many more moments that are a part of life, of everyday living and struggle, that aren’t shown.
- Why do we post our best images online for all the world to see? Are we painting a false perception of ourselves?
I’m not saying there is anything inherently wrong about posting beautiful photos online for our far away friends and family to see. Social media enables long-distance friends to “see” the growth of our family, for which I am thankful. But I also think more “real life” photos should show the “real us.” Real photos that aren’t airbrushed or mega-pixel-ed, real photos “in the moment.” I confess I get rather annoyed by friend’s incessant posts of themselves eating or entertaining, or of their kid’s every moves, but the photos that capture every day living is more compelling than any professional staged session ever can be. My goal in posting should not be to gather glory for myself, or my family, but true glory is glorifying God in me. Glory (synonyms: renown, fame, prestige, honor, acclaim, praise) that is asked for is not real. I fear that the motive behind posting such amazing photos online is to garner more likes and comments and adoration instead of displaying Christ in me.
- Is your motivation in posting photos to bring glory to yourself, your family, or to Christ in you?