What started out as a simple thought on food photography turned into weeks of contemplating an old concept that I believe affects all of us in one way or another.  The fundamental idea here is not new, but it is just as applicable today as it was yesterday:  Perfection is in the mind of the beholder.  Perspective helps.  

Hi there.

These are my kids.  They’re beautiful, yeah?  Oh I just want to {{squeeze}} them! ♥


[Professional photography by Tom Hollow]

Tell me– what do you think of when you look at the photos above?  What do these photos “tell” you about my kids?  Are they absolute angels?  Are they are always perfectly dressed, ever-cooperative, and always well-mannered?


Hi, again.  These are also my kids…


[photography by Grandma]

What do you think now?  Is this a picture you’d look at twice if you came across it on the internet?  I’m guessing probably not.  They just look like regular kids here– ones who are capable of being messy, throwing fits, and having bad days.

Same kids, different pictures.  For most of you reading this, whether subconsciously or consciously, split-second assumptions were formulated in your mind the moment you laid eyes on these photos.  Don’t worry; it’s natural.  The question is:  Are your assumptions true?  And do you use those assumptions to make comparisons and conclusion about your own life?


OK, here’s a couple more:



What assumptions might you make when looking these?  That my husband and I are always blissfully in love? That we are “perfectly compatible”?  That love and life come easy and we don’t know what it’s like to argue, struggle, or suffer?  Are you romanticizing what true love is and what it “should” look like?  And because my husband and I have a “perfect” relationship, we’re probably “perfect” parents as well.  Our kids are SO lucky…

Now here’s a more common family picture– tired after a long day, everyone in mismatching scrubs, kids could care less about taking a picture.  What do you see now?  Perhaps just another family, with nothing particularly special about them.



What’s my point?  Just this:  that my family members are the same beings in each of these photos.  I, being the wife/mother here, can look at each of these pictures, whether “picture perfect” or not, and cherish the individuals in the photos and the memories of each moment.  I can see each of my beautiful family members for who they are inside, in all their strengths and weaknesses, challenges and triumphs, and I can see the perfection in their imperfections.  I can see what makes them them.  But you, on the outside, can’t see everything that I see. You’re left to judge using your sense of sight alone.

We’ve heard it all before: “You can’t judge a book by its cover.”  The statement seems so cliche.  SO then…..why do we still struggle with this?  Why do we not only judge a book by the appearance of its cover, but then use that judgement to criticize our own cover?  Why do we so often compare our weaknesses to others’ strengths and vice versa, and then hold onto those comparisons as “truths”?  Why do we sometimes allow this skewed perception of perfection to debilitate us?

We know that it’s human nature to make judgments based on what we see, so we can’t fault ourselves for having such a basic instinct.  We have the sense of sight for a reason and it plays a fundamental role in our human survival and process of learning.  But when we rely too heavily on this ONE sense to fuel our understanding, we can be mislead and become lost.  Feelings of discouragement, failure, hopelessness, pessimism, criticism, and bitterness can overshadow us.  It’s during those difficult moments that “perfection” seems like such a cruel concept.  But what if it’s not “perfection” that’s the problem…what if it’s just a lack of perspective that’s the problem?


The reality is that we can feel happiness and contentment in our everyday lives by choosing to see the perfection in all the imperfections around us.  Tasting perfection in imperfection isn’t just a logical cop-out.  It isn’t a convenient way of coddling our egos.  It is how we can live in the present.  It is a way to see, accept, and appreciate life as it truly is at this moment.

So can we all be a little nicer to ourselves?  Can we all give ourselves a little more credit and appreciate where we are at today?  Can we not stay discouraged about the past (“I can’t believe I made such a stupid mistake!”) or live in anxiety for tomorrow (“I’ll never be better at this.”), but rather find peace in the gift of today, and be encouraged by the opportunity of a tomorrow?  I know it’s all easier said than done, but holding onto this perspective will keep us moving forward.  Every day is a new day.  Every day is another chance.

Remember– if you think you’re not photogenic, please don’t stop being in pictures.  If your meals don’t turn out aesthetically pleasing or delicious every time, please don’t deem yourself a failure.  And if you fall short of your goal today, please don’t tell yourself that the effort was for nothing!  There is something infinitely more important here than just producing a “perfect” outcome to be admired.  It is a soul expanding adventure EVERY time we TRY.  ←THAT is the perfection in imperfection.

You are capable of great things.  I am capable of great things.  Even that person who annoys the crap out of us is capable of great things.  So keep at it, and afford others the opportunity to do the same.