pretty or gritty

In Digital, Inspiration
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I recently read a lovely article titled “In Defense of Posting Pretty Pictures”. The author was tired of the judgmental response to the photos that she chooses to share on social media – she sometimes feels “on trial” for only posting photos that paint a rosy picture of her life.


I know how she feels – I have received comments from friends saying how perfect my life sometimes looks because of what I choose to share on Facebook or Instagram.  The people that know me KNOW my life is hardly perfect and that I post the good stuff, mostly.  At least where it concerns my family and most particularly my daughter.   But I’m just as likely to share a towering pile of laundry dumped by my washing machine or other images that show the nitty-gritty crumbs-and-all side of life.  Especially if the light is hitting it just the right way.

That’s my right.  That’s her right, too.  It really is nobody’s business what we choose to share with the wider world.  Share nothing, share pretty pictures of roses or your children being adorable, share photos of the garbage in the street, just do your thing.  As the author says in her article, “Let us not then fault those who choose to display the finest moments.”  Sometimes we need to focus on the pretty and the magic at the end of the day.  But if you also want to show me how tired and miserable the end of the day can be, with crying children or messes on the table or the homeless woman who sleeps in the bus shelter, I want to see those stories too.


Today I choose to share a few moments caught in the school garden where I happened to catch my daughter’s class painting watercolors.  It was pretty, and if you can’t see the screaming kids on the playground just outside of frame, you’re none the wiser.

I love a good story.  Tell YOUR story, the highs and the lows, the good and the bad, and thumb your nose at those who are judge-y.

(images taken with the Canon 5D Mark II and a 50 mm lens)



  1. I loved your story! Thank you for making me feel that what I post is okay. I, too, get told that my life is too rosy. It’s good to know that someone else feels like I do! I do not have to justify what I post.

    • Thank you, Leanne! There is just too much pressure (and judgment) now that we’ve started opening our lives up on social media.

  2. Thank you for sharing this. For many many times I find myself questioning about that. In my difficult days I didn’t want to share a pretty photo because I thought it wouldn’t express the real me, how my life was at that time. Struggle with hard things in life is a constant everyday life routine for me yet my photos somehow always come with something beautiful to my eyes. I didn’t want that “people” thought I lived in a wonderland where the grass is always green because somehow we end up being judged for the appearances. I understood recent that is not about to express how my life is in one specific moment but how my soul is no matter what is happening.

  3. I have been really struggling recently with all the social media and this really spoke to me. Thank you.

    • I’m right there with you, Kirstin. I question why I’m sharing at all sometimes, but it’s the “me too” moments I find within (and outside) our community that keeps me coming back and makes it feel worthwhile.

  4. I love these photos – the light on the watercolors and the hands at work are so beautiful. These are things that belong on my top 5 list of things to photograph.
    I read the original article too, and pondered it a bit. I love both the pretty and the gritty. As long as a photo is meaningful to the photographer there’s something there to see. And judgements about what other people choose to post and share, ain’t nobody got time for that.

    • Thanks Debbie. (when are we going to get a chance to photowalk together?? – someday…….) And damn straight – nobody got time for the judgements!

  5. this is wonderful Kim. And you are SO RIGHT. Sometimes I’m actually happy when I share an image that I love and it gets no attention…cause I know I did it only for me. I love all these photos, but I love that first one of the paints the best!

  6. I tend to do a mix of this with my photography. But I do try to use my photography to keep me seeing the beauty in the world. It’s a therapy and a gratitude practice for me as much as an art form. I love how you say “only for you” that’s what it’s really about right there.

    (also, I love that your daughter’s school does watercolor outside!)

  7. I will totally thumb my nose at the judge-y people. And I agree – share what you like, just don’t tell me what I “should” share.

  8. *Sigh* I don’t know why we all can’t give one another a break. A photographer friend of mine was having a tough parenting moment and he posted a photo that was raw and real and people jumped all over him for how it could embarass his kid. We can’t win so I’m all in with you to just not try to please other people and post what we want.

  9. I really needed to read this because I wonder at times just how many photos I can take of my garden as it starts to bloom. It is a long season of beauty. Thank you. And I love the moments you have captured here!

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