The digital landscape is completely saturated with beautifully crafted pictures of iconic landmarks, gorgeous people who always seem to be laughing at something, and idyllic scenarios. They propagate a certain type of lifestyle, an unattainable standard of living for most people, and might even be the catalyst that stirs up negative emotions of envy and sadness for viewers/readers.
I love looking at these pictures. I think they’re beautiful and shared numerous times for a reason. I know that I might not be able to take the same type of pictures during my lifetime, but they serve a purpose for me: they open my mind to beautiful locations that I might not have known otherwise, they expose me to a different type of style, editing, and composition, and give me ideas for my future travels and self-taught photography. Isn’t that what they’re supposed to do? Yes, and it is completely possible to enjoy looking at these types of pictures, even if they’re not my particular style! I don’t possess the “ideal” body type that dominates the travel industry propaganda, I don’t live the iconic lifestyle where I party my way around the world, and you know what? I’m good with that! I’m an individual and don’t need to compare myself to anyone. I’m living my own life.
I’ve been going through a lot of my old pictures recently, backing them up, sifting through duplicates, and organizing them. It’s been a fun
arduous process, and has been a wonderful journey down memory lane. One of the big trends that I’ve noticed in my picture-taking endeavors is this:
I love taking non-traditional travel pictures!
Some of my pictures are blurry. Some of them are mid-laugh or right after I’ve done something stupid. A few of them are of me making fun of myself and my friends.
Bottom line: they’re fun and remind me of some of the best times of travel. They’re not typically posed pictures where I’ve had the time to take gobs of them, review them, and then readjust. They’re raw. They’re natural (for the most part…I’m sure some of them started with “hey wouldn’t it be funny if…”) and they’re in-the-moment. These the type of pictures that make me laugh as soon as I look at them.
Sure, I’ve got some of the other kind. The posed. The edited. The typical travel pictures which ARE BEAUTIFUL. But this post isn’t about those. This post is about all those candid, funny, weird, and often “what was I even doing” pictures. Can’t they get some of the love too?
Let me ask you this: how often have you seen manicured pictures of people eating gorgeous plates of food? As a novice foodie, I LOVE THEM! Stunning plates of charcuterie, exotic fruit platters (with every fruit cut open?) and dainty little cuts of whatever else is around…love them all! However, I don’t eat like that on a regular basis. How much more realistic would it be to have a nice picture of someone just going to town on a donut or slice of pizza?
Sometimes I just want to take a bazillion pictures where I’m making weird faces. My mom gets so frustrated with me sometimes, and I just have to laugh it off. I have a friend who is always taking pictures with his wife, and I kid you not – they’re posing the exact same way in EVERY SINGLE PICTURE. In all seriousness, they remind of the kinds of pictures we had to take at Olan Mills or something back in the early 90s, just with differing backgrounds. Sure, the backgrounds are stunning, but when you hold the pictures side-by-side or lay them out in a photo book, there’s no variety. It’s like a giant Toyota dealership with the same make and model of car, just in different shades of grey. Can you please give me something, I don’t know, pink?
I think that in a society where a lot of major influencers have the ability to promote only the crème de la crème of travel, it’s just as important for people to see the reality of adventures. I don’t want to come across as a jerk, but I love hearing when notable influencers have the same issues that I encounter. Not that I’m enjoying their pain or misfortune by any stretch of the imagination, but rather, knowing that we experience the same hardships humanizes them and their accounts. Not all of us “glow” after a tough hike. Not all of us can pull off a perfect pout with a snorkel in our mouth. Not all of us have mastered the “I just rolled out of bed” glamorous look. Sometimes the fisherman wiggles the fish while you’re going in for that “picture-perfect fish kiss!”
One of my favorite things to do for a picture is to use a prop. No, I’m not talking about a hat or a weird thing from “Whose Line is it Anyway?” I’m talking about using whatever is around me that helps tell a story, reminds me of an event, or just makes me giggle. Does it always make sense? No. Do people give me weird looks when I use the prop? Most of the time. The best part? I don’t remember them and am confident they have no idea who I am, therefore, there’s no need to be embarrassed!
So…what’s the point of this post?
Is it to bash the manicured pictures that we’re used to seeing? No.
Is it to invoke a sense of disappointment in the travel industry for propagating an unattainable lifestyle? Not at all.
My point, dear friends, is to encourage everyone to let their silly side show. Not every part of life is picture-perfect, so to speak. Life is silly. Life is crazy. Life is hectic. Life is fun. Celebrate it!
It’s really okay to share your non-traditional pictures. I don’t like taking “normal” pictures, therefore my scrapbooks are full of photo-bombs, wide-open-mouth smiles, weird faces, props, and anything else I can find to spice up life. And you know what? I love looking at them, sharing them, and watching other people smile!
What are your thoughts on pictures? Do you have any non-traditional ones that are just over-the-top?