Sometimes I wonder why I share so much of my everyday life with all of you; showing you photos of my daily doings, sharing them with strangers all over the world.
Agfa Precisa 100, Minolta SRT 101
I wrote a daily diary for many, many years. For some reason I stopped this writing; instead documenting my daily life through photos unintentionally more or less took its place, especially after I got my first digital camera in 2004.
In the introduction to my Everyday stories. A photographic memory of my 2008* book I wrote a bit about this:
I have always been an eager photographer, and I have lots of albums filled with snapshots and happy memories of things I have done in life. Digital photography and Flickr have made me see things in a different way. Before I got my first digital (slr) camera in June 2004, I would for example never photograph a simple plate of grapes, the evening light on my livingroom wall or my collection of magazines. I guess I saved my film for capturing my family and friends having fun, and not just for remembering ordinary things.
Kodak Portra 160vc, Canon EOS 500N
When I joined Flickr in May 2005 I was quickly totally absorbed by looking at other people’s photos. I also discovered how nice it was to connect with people through photography and commenting. It didn’t take long until I started sharing personal photos and stories, especially during my master thesis writing. I think the fact that I got more comments on these photos compared to the other photos I posted back then (mostly flowers and holiday shots), encouraged me to keep posting these kinds of personal photos. I also felt that I got to know people through their comments and the dialogue we had in the comment section – which I really enjoyed.
At one point I felt that I shared too much. So I made all the photos in my Flickr photostream private and started only posting photos that I was really happy with. I had gotten carried away and then I got a bit uncomfortable with it. I felt that there was too much Astrid going on. Yet it all happened only on a personal level, not a private one. Meaning there were a lot of stuff in my life that I didn’t share; I shared an edited version of my life. As it turned out, I missed the kind of connection I got with people through sharing personal stuff, so I slowly got back to it and it became a habit.
Kodak Portra 160nc, Olympus mju
And here I am today; still sharing an edited version of my life.
For some reason, that is exactly why a lot of you visit this blog; to get a glimpse into my life, especially through my photos. At least that is what a lot of you answered on my first giveaway when the question was “why do you like to visit this blog?”.
I’m obviously not the only one sharing my everyday life online. There are numerous Flickr photostreams, blogs, etc that focus on daily life. Some of my favorites are those personal ones. I too like getting a glimpse into other people’s lives. Why is that? It’s hard to say, but I guess I like the feeling of recognition in seeing how other people’s lives are as ordinary as mine. I enjoy seeing their version of the ordinary, because it is the same yet different from mine. And I enjoy connecting with strangers all over the world because of our ordinary yet unique and extraordinary lives.
Fuji Velvia 100, Canon EOS 500N
Still I have a dilemma with all this sharing.
Sometimes I feel like I share more for the sake of you than me. I post photos that are not my best thinking “someone might like it” or “someone might be interested in seeing this”. It’s so silly!
Also; I like documenting my life though photos, but I also want to become a better photographer. I want to take great photos of my life, not just random snapshots for the sake of documentation. I want to make an effort and be focused so that I will be happy with all my photos. But sometimes I’m just lazy or uninspired and my photos will be just bleh. At the same time I realize that in order to become a better photographer I need to take a lot of photos and learn from my mistakes and my blehs. I think that is part of the reason why I enjoy shooting film so much; I tend to be more focused when I shoot because I don’t want to waste film. I make every frame count and I restrain myself from becoming trigger happy.
The bottom line is – I have said it before and I’m saying it again – I need to kill my darlings and be better at editing myself.
Kodak Portra 160vc, Canon EOS 500N
Puh! This must be the longest written post in the history of this blog. Which was, by the way, written in bed on a Sunday morning whilst drinking coffee and listening to the August rain outside.
Now I’m really interested in your opinions. What are your thoughts on sharing your everyday life? Why is other people's lives so fascinating? How do you edit yourself? And how do you kill your darlings?
*I'm already in the process of making a similar book of this year's everyday stories project.
PS: more thoughts on sharing my everyday life