This holiday season, I took our family in for a session with one of our amazingly talented photographers. We were one of hundreds of other families in our studios last fall. After our session, I sorted through all the images, looking for that perfect frame (with everyone looking just so) for our holiday card. After finding it, I created a nice design, had my husband sign off on it and sent it away to the printer.
Our perfect card went out, just as everyone else’s perfect cards came rolling in.
As I sorted through one card after another, I started to wonder. What are we doing to our kids to get this perfect image? What message are we sending them?
I know in my heart that kids are perfectly imperfect. They rumble often and love hard. They have snotty noses and crumbs in their hair. Sometimes they are happy together. Sometimes they are frustrated and mad.
At home, I always tell my kids that whatever they are feeling in the moment is right and okay, and that it is normal to feel sad, scared, silly, happy and frustrated (as long as no pinching, hitting or pushing is involved!). When we see perfection in others, we naturally feel badly about ourselves. “Why don’t I look that way” “Why aren’t my kids like that?”
but why wasn’t I okay showing that to others and to myself? Was I promoting this belief in my own growing chain of portrait studios? I started to wonder that maybe i wasn't doing so as much as I’d originally thought.
Going through my family’s images a second time, I realized that there were so many beautiful images where the true personalities of my kids shine through the photo. Why hadn’t I chosen one of them for my holiday card? The first time I'd looked through the photos, I saw my husband and son, Josh, not looking at the camera. Andrew with his big brown eyes isn't smiling. Now, I see that Josh is definitely telling John (my husband) about the trains he loves so dearly. You can see that Andrew is the growing older brother-- no longer my first baby or toddler, but a kid. You can better see the relationships and connections between us, but it's not the smily perfect image I wanted to share with the world.
This reflecting sparked something in me, and in the staff at Little Nest Portraits. We’ve committed ourselves to sharing imperfection and capturing the magical moments that make your family unique. Our goal is to savor the laughter, tears, runny noses, toothy (or gummy) smiles, snuggles, hugs and kisses that make up a lifetime of memories. A photo should do that. We should do that.
Years ago, I came across the term, “Wabi-Sabi” which represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered around the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent and incomplete.” We hope that this is what you see when you come into a Little Nest Portrait studio. We hope that embracing this “Wabi-Sabi” beauty is the beginning of something much bigger than ourselves. Embracing that imperfection is okay. That it’s the little moments that matter so much. That time goes by quickly. That family is a place for us to be ourselves and family photography should be a way to pass that magic along to future generations.