I find it so interesting how people (myself included!) like to peer into the lives of other people. Long before reality TV and blogging, my Mama would pop in on family, uninvited, “to see how they really live”. When she visited the townhouse for the first time, she unabashedly peered inside each and every one of my cupboards and closets, eager to ascertain whether I was actually a tidy homeowner, or I has just cleaned for her visit. When I said the garage was off limits (because the house alarm would sound), she was convinced that’s where I was keeping the mess. I repeatedly asked her not to open the door, but that just made the garage more enticing. When the house alarm went off at the crack of dawn one morning, I knew that her curiosity had gotten the better of her.
I laughed when I caught her red-handed! I couldn’t fault her, because my favorite hobby was to go for a walk at dusk – so I could nonchalantly peer into our neighbors’ homes as I slowly sauntered by. That was the reason I started reading blogs. And I know this isn’t some weird family quirk because that passion for voyeurism is what makes reality TV such a lucrative industry.
What’s funny to me, is that the authenticity and realism we seem to crave is so illusive. The Hills? Turns out much of it was scripted! Blogger homes? A lot of those Pinterest-worthy images are staged! Instagram was, for a long time, a place for those candid snaps, but it too has become more glossed over by highly edited and stylized shots. The “way people really live” is driven deeper into the depths of the internet – now you can find it mostly in short-lived Instagram stories and Snapchat whatevers. But in this world, where cash is king, there’s no conspiracy to hide real life, it’s just that glossier depictions perform better: better show ratings, better blog stats. So do people really want “to see how people really live” after all?
I think about this so much.
I struggle with this as a blogger, because I feel pressure to produce Pinterest-worthy images but I’m still passionate about the function blogging used to serve: a glimpse into real homes, to see how people really live and decorate. That’s more difficult these days and the monetization of blogs blurs the lines even more.
The biggest lie I perpetrate is in my food photography and flat lays: I photograph so many things on the floor! Not so scandalous, I know – until you see how heartbreaking this is for Szuka…
Szuka will come lurking and just hang out, staring longingly at the food
that’s within her grasp and yet so far away. I can leave the room and
she won’t touch it, but she’s there. Watching.
When I see blogging from her eyes (“why is the food on the floor, human, and why aren’t we eating it?“) it all seems so strange…