Sunday, 21 August 2011

thoughts on sharing my everyday life

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


  1. i think it is the small moments of everyday life that are so interesting. In your case you are a wonderful photographer so the visuals are beautiful. And of course, I also find you both interesting as people-even while you are in the midst of a huge renovation, the mood seems still calm and content. You are so neat about it too, keeping certain areas tidy. I appreciate seeing all you show :)

  2. Hi Astrid,
    I also love to see how other people live, for many reasons. For instance, I like to read about other people's daily routines, their thoughts and ideas about living and everyday issues, how they plan their lives, how they decorate their homes... The purpose of that is basically to get inspired and thus improve my own life...
    My life has indeed changed so much (for the better) when I started reading blogs - if you remember, you inspired me to leave my car at home and walk to work! Other blogs have influenced me in so many good ways! Here are some changes I made inspired by other people I met online: I started to sew, I got into the crafting world, I opened an Etsy shop, I started to take control of my finances, I became much more organized (both at home and at work), I finaly discovered my style, in terms of fashion and home decor, I started taking more pictures (inspired by you) and bought a nice camera, I rediscovered shooting film and my dad's old Nikon camera (also inspired by you), I'm in the process of becoming an early riser, and overall, I believe I became a better mum and wife.
    So, yes, getting a glimpse into other people's lives made my life much better.
    As for my own blog and sharing my life online, I obviously only share a small part of it - an edited version, as you put it. Why, because many times life is too ordinary, or there isn't enough time to write and take pictures of the interesting parts... Anyway, the best comments I get on my blog are those saying "you have inspired me to do this" - because that's precisely how I feel reading many other blogs - such as yours. So, if I can inspired just one person to improve their life just a tiny bit, I'd be happy!
    Anyway, great post, Astrid!

  3. "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."

    I think these statements are it for me. I don't share very much of my personal life, only an edited version as well. But that is the same with friends and family in person too - I don't share everything. I once read another blogger say that blogging, sharing her life, made her focus on the positives. And cultivate those positives. That is what I want to do. And I like seeing other peoples version of that too.

  4. I struggle with this too, sharing our lives online but then I also love seeing little snippets of everyone elses lives on their blogs! I try not to get too personal and I hold plenty of things back on my blog. My mother inlaw HATES my blog! She thinks I'm asking to be stalked and burgled! (does anyone really want to steal all my crappy fleamarket finds?)
    I ask permission of any friends/parents of children before I publish their pictures and many of my friends don't want their pictures slapped all over the internet.If I had children then I doubt I would publish any pictures of their faces as I feel the internet is a scary place for kids and I worry about where their pictures may end up.... Maybe I'm being paranoid!
    I do love your blog just the way it is though! Enjoy the rest of the weekend (it's raining in Oslo too!)

  5. What an interesting post! I think anyone who blogs or posts photos necessarily presents an edited version, just as socially we present an "edited version" to most people outside our intimate circle. The reason I enjoy seeing glimpses of other people's everyday lives is that it makes me appreciate my own life so much more. I can see through different eyes and be inspired. Then the "everyday" is valuable!

  6. I wrote a similar post some days ago, explaining why I like writing my blog.It is essentially a diary of the happy moments of my life, that I write to remember to my self, and the happy moments are often everyday life things:an afternoon walk with my husband, a recipe I tryed for dinner, a book a read, an evening with friends..I write and photograph to pay more attention to those precious moments, because those little moments are MY LIFE and I don't want to forget them.
    I also hope that my pictures and writing can push other people to live their life fully, and this is the reason why I read your blog: you inspires me to live in a better way, to savor special moments, and I absolutely LOVE your every day pictures!!! :-)

  7. How interesting to read about your thought about sharing! I think you have found a good level of sharing, it is never to private.

    I don't mind sharing my everyday life. But since I'm not so into photography, I don't think the pictures are of so big interest to others than family and friends. I really enjoy your photos! I have tried to blog myself, but in the long run I didn't take the time to do it on a very frequent basis.
    Your posting rate is impressing, how do you keep up?

    I now have a small baby boy, and I wonder how much I should/ have the right to share on his behalf. What are your thought about this, with the baby girl coming soon?

  8. I follow your blog not to be nosey about your private life, but because I love the way you document. Your photos are very inspiring and you pass such nice atmosphere in them. You have a great style in my opinion.

    I'd have loved to have a new blog, simple about my everyday life- but I feel I wont be able to pass it as something worthy to see and read about.
    As for sharing too much- I believe that nobody have to know and see everything (esp not private everyday life), and it is up to to show what you're comfortable and happy with. Your blog- your rules.

  9. I don't have a blog and never wanted to have one because.... I have nothing to say, nothing to show (and honestly, not much free time), so, it's amazing to see how many people have personal though public blogs. A few years ago, at the beginning of web 2.0, let's say, I began to read more and more blogs ; I was delighted to discover fashion, DIY, and recipes through personal eyes (versus the standard versions of magazines) and fascinated by "life on internet", sometimes very intimate. I still love blogs which have an aesthetic approch, beautiful pictures, good ideas, but I am very uncomfortable and stop reading too personal blogs ; I mean : pictures of the kids or the cats or flowers are great once in a month, but (and I apologize if she reads the following) pics and stories of Camilla's dog (that is to say 1 day on 2) are so boring for instance. So I often remove a lot of blogs from my Google Reader but there is so much exciting ones, etc... In fact it depends very much on the "tone" of the writer, I like a little modesty, and that, you can feel very quickly through the blog, like yours.

  10. Hi Astrid.
    what a well written blog post. i like your blog and your photos and i like getting a glimpse into your everylife. i love taking pictures of everydaylife myself. i have difficulties some times to decide ow much to share but some other times the nature and amount of photos feels just right. the same is with photos i take of other people, i can never decide whether i should share because it reflects who i am and what i like as a photographer or should i keep it private because of numerous well known reasons and share only pictures of flowers and pretty things that is only a small art of my photograpy interest.
    you are an artist and your photos are of artistic nature and full of beauty thats wh they are so attractive to look at for many strangers all over the world. i don' mind seeing what you call an edited version of your daily life, because it is anyway YOUR life; i believe many of us share only a part of our lives due to the nature of things we choose to share and sometimes just because we do not have time to share many other things. but no matter how many glimpses we see of each other lives, we can get an idea of who a person is and how much the stories of other person reflects our own lives as well.

  11. Hi Astrid
    I think about this a lot myself. Sometime I wonder if one of the mistakes I've made on my blog was to create a weekly post of weekend photos. This puts pressure on shooting every weekend and then I end up adding some photos just to "fill out the space". Not every week comes wrapped in a bow with lots of photo opportunities. However, I love seeing how others capture the everyday and it inspires me to look at things differently. Since the publishing of kinfolk and the blogs I've found through that forum; it's changed the way I photograph a lot.

  12. I definitely share an edited version of my life on my blog. I do post pictures of my family, but always stick to pictures in which they can't be recognized, both on my blog and my Flickr.
    There are few around me that even know that I blog, and I prefer it that way. I blog about some of the little things in life that makes my everyday complete. Sharing pictures of what i crochet may seem shallow with all that is going on in the world these days, but the crocheting itself is an important way for me to relax and just be me. My everyday is filled with work, dirty laundry etc.
    My blog may not be interesting to everybody, but it may to SOMEBODY. Whose everyday is filled with work, dirty laundry etc. If my blog can inspire someone out there, then great!

    I always look forward to visiting your blog, Astrid. I almost imagine myself joining you in the vineyards, around your dining table, or at your cabin. And since I know you guys i person, including mr Solis (heheh), it is extra fun to see what you have been up to lately. You have become an important source of inspiration. Enjoy good food, travel more, and do that litte sunday hike! So thank you, Astrid, for that!

    One question comes to mind, though: Any thoughts on how much you will share when your baby arrives? : )

  13. I must admit, than I more watch your photos than read posts. This I've read.And I think that the majority of blogers have similar dillema. I have sometimes, but I write in Polish, not in international English;)

  14. for en interessant post. jeg linker til det. har tenkt masse på det å dele, men så lenge det gir meg noe, så lenge det får meg til å verdsette små øyeblikkene i livet mitt på en annen måte, fortsetter jeg. men det er en utrolig redigert bilde av et liv vi lever. og det synes jeg er bare greit og veldig riktig.

  15. This is so thought-provoking.

    I have been blogging for nine years and my favorite thing, always, to blog about is my everyday life. It's really more of a household journal than a hey-come-read-my-blog thing. In fact, that is why I named it Daybook.

    In keeping an online journal, I have always been very inspired by this quote:

    "The deepest thing I know is that I am living and dying at once, and my conviction is to report that dialogue." -- Stanley Kunitz

  16. in students days i visited norway and fell in love with this country
    so i was very happy to find you and hanne by flickr and get a glimpse of your ordinary life
    i love to read your blog and look at your great fotos
    it's like having relatives all over the world
    maybe it can change the world a bit looking at ordinary lifes of people all over the world
    lg birgit

  17. Hei ,
    I've been reading your blog for a while now but this is my first post, this is an interesting thread.As other posters have noted your pictures exude a lovely sense of calm and a feeling of the simple life well lived which all too often eludes me .I dream of taking time and stopping to look and your pictures remind me to keep trying.Greatly appreciate your photos.

  18. I know this is an old post but the point of it stays fresh forever, so I had to comment. I could have written this myself, my thoughts are so similar to yours. I only have a couple of years of blog history behind me, yet I've already had the need-to-go-more-private feelings, and then I've needed to share more again. I have absolutely nothing fancy going on in my life; I live in a small countryside town, no flashing lights, my trips abroad (or even in bigger cities in my country) are rare, but still people - at least some, are interested in it. And most of my favorite blogs are about their writer's every day life. I find I am not as interested in "something special" (although I like reading about NYC or travelling etc) as I am in whatever little details people have and do daily. It's the _real_ life. Sometimes very much like my own and yet, like you said, somehow so alike.

    Thanks for sharing yours!

  19. Nice Blog. :) thank you for sharing your life with us. *thumbs up*

  20. Kjenner meg veldig igjen i disse dilemaenne her. På den ene siden har jeg lyst å fortelle noe personlig, på den andre siden ønsker jeg å vise noe som folk har glede av å se. Kunsten ved blogging er, tror jeg, å finne en balanse. Jeg tror den balansen jeg har funnet nå både utfordrer måten min å ta bilder på men samtidig føles meningsfult på et personlig plan. Så kan man velge å følge alle andre tips om blogging der ute med en klype salt :) Veldig godt skrevet!



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