Thursday, September 17, 2015

Not a Magazine

I had something odd occur yesterday.  After I took a hundred pictures of my kitchen and posted them here for the world to see, out of the clear blue sky, I was not thrilled with my kitchen.  I was baffled by this feeling because I AM thrilled with my kitchen.  After analyzing all day, because that's how I do (my poor husband), I realized the problem: My pictures didn't do the place justice and the pictures that I posted made the kitchen seem less than what it is.

Isn't that bizarre?  We spend so much time on Pinterest or Houzz or flipping through (studying, in my case) pictures in House Beautiful, Better Homes & Gardens and This Old House that those pictures become the vision in our heads.  I think this is how white kitchens have become so popular--they absolutely shine on a glossy page.  My kitchen, overflowing with natural light, which makes it hard to photograph with a crappy camera, came across as orange, the gorgeous grain of the quarter-sawn oak was lost in the digital transition, the warm golden tones of the hardware was colorless, and the perfect gray of the island looked flat and bland.

In addition, I had no team of current and fashionable stagers to set out gallons of magnificent flowers, perfectly ripe and color coordinated fruits, or fresh, crisp, and probably European linens.  No, no. I actually had a dirty pot in the sink that I had to carefully angle my lens so as not to capture. That HAD to have been easier than washing it.  And even though I vowed we wouldn't have junk on the fridge in the new house, there isn't another convenient place to hang scriptures we are memorizing or rewards charts for the resident school children.

I feel kind of like when I took one of my daughters to her first fine art museum.  I had forgotten to warn her about all of the nakedness.  After her astonishment wore off, I invited her to notice that the women who were  portrayed as goddesses were soft and voluptuous; their breasts were a normal size, their eyes were not carefully painted, even their hands and feet didn't always look dainty and thin.  Not one of the women in those fine art museums looked like 11 year old boys because, historically, the women who were considered beautiful looked like real women, unaltered by false means.

We are aware of the unnatural physical expectations put upon us by the media.  Some of us don't care at all, some of us care a whole lot, and I think most of us fall somewhere in between.  I think it helps that we are aware of it and can work through it in our own way.

Maybe we need to be more aware of that same deception going on about our homes.  Wide angle lenses change perception.  Professional photographers spend years perfecting angles, lighting and set-up.  Christmas is staged in February to capture the perfect snowfall.  We begin to think our homes are not good enough because they don't look like the pictures, when, in actuality, the homes pictured in the magazines don't look that way either!  If an editor wants to smooth all wrinkles off a 50 year old woman's face, you bet your bottom dollar they're going to alter a room to be more editorial on their pages.

Like any woman who has a life of joy evidenced by the smile lines around her eyes, I have good things happening with the scriptures tacked to my fridge.  My belly is soft and saggy because I've born seven Gifts of Creation, just as my sink has dirty dishes because we've been loving our work space.

Now that I've labeled the weird reaction to my own post, I can shrug it off and celebrate my textured woods, my touchable counters, my vintage-feel light fixtures and my otherwise perfect-for-me kitchen. I don't have time for this tomfoolery.

We have cookies memories to make.


  1. I love your kitchen! It looks like it's the perfect space to work together with your children, create marvelous creations, and do good things. I especially love the grey of the island and the flour bins. Amazing! I love the range hood & the open shelves as well. So wonderful.

    Photographs attempt to capture light, but cameras can only interpret, not reproduce. Do you have white balance hidden in the settings of your camera? Even my little Canon had it. You can change them white balance to interpret the lights you have on (fluorescent, etc.).

  2. Thank you for this wonderful essay. It shows that a lesson was presented to you... and you LEARNED. You have made several great points, and made them well. I will think about this for a long time. ~~Truly one of your best blog posts~~ out of many that have moved me. Thank you.