We snap, we snap again, and again and again until finally, we get the perfect picture for social media. Looking inside from outside, how envious we gaze yet, the narrative is enhanced and at times, fabricated.
Last summer, a dear friend of mine gave birth to her second baby. On her sofa, I was complaining about my own online dating nightmares and on cue, both of her young children began to cry. Sat on the floor, she looked up at me and said: ‘This is my life. This is a real life’.
Being a family photographer, I step into the private lives of others to photograph the beautiful and more in demand, ‘reportage’.
Candid shots can be tricky though – there needs to be smiles and giggles and piggybacks. Discarded photos include tantrums and when hunger kicks in and anything sweet is demanded. There cannot be tears or lying face down kicking the floor while piles of washing and untidied dinner plates are seen in the shot – commonly, these photos do not make it online.
7 families volunteered for me to document their world during ‘rush hour’ – getting ready for school, mealtimes, bedtimes and with a toddler, all day long. A Fisher Price kitchen can be seen next to Vogue magazine, hinting at life pre-child. Clutter is a common theme.
During the 3 weeks I spent amongst these families, after their shoot, there was a concern from my volunteers on how they would be perceived. I have heard the stories of sleep-deprived nights, fussy eaters and the continuous ‘melt-downs’. The photos I took and have chosen to display were non-negotiable – there was no manipulation and no script.
This exhibition isn’t just aimed at families, but to those who assume, the filtered life is normal.