When I was taking this photo on Sunday morning, I became aware again of the editing I was doing. I had to position the camera just so to keep the clutter out of the frame. The whole scene you can see below. It was not an especially picturesque meal, and you can see the cords and technology I would usually keep out of my camera’s view.
There is nothing wrong with editing. Goodness knows I would rather look at serene, peaceful photos than cluttered ones. But we are so inundated with images these days, both staged and real, that it is easy to make assumptions about what we are seeing. A year or two ago I wouldn’t have put this photo here for all the world to see.
Looking at the cords and missing radiator bits, or the mismatched crockery, or thinking of a flat-panel television in our eighteenth-century room, I realize that we are all always editing our environment, camera or not. If I wanted to use the energy and money, I could hide that modern technology and repair the radiator covers, paint the door that I would prefer to be white, clean the ashes out of the fireplace. I probably will do most of those things in the near or far future.
These days, my energy is going elsewhere…into studying and healing and being grateful for what I already have…the fire and the lilacs and time to read and learn and savor. Some people could do all of that and paint and renovate, but I can’t. And that is ok. I guess that what I am trying to say is that we need to be kinder to ourselves…to know that what we see is not the whole picture of anyone’s home or life…that while we seek beauty and simplicity, everything that isn’t is still going to a part of our lives.
And we will always be working with the contrast. I was glad to clear away the crumbs and jars and to wipe up the coffee drips and spread out my books and papers on the once-again empty white tabletop…but I left all the rest to its imperfect state.