The Spirit of Authenticity

I love my neighborhood and surrounding streets.  The houses are older, but full of character and well kept with some impeccable yards.

On a recent “exploration” I noticed a yard ahead of us that had something different about it.

At first I couldn’t tell what it was…

The lawn was freshly mowed, the walks were swept spotless, weeds seemed afraid to take root anywhere near the flowerbeds,

The flowers were in full bloom and seemed to hold an absolute perfection about them…

And then I caught the difference.

The perfection.

I pushed the stroller closer with a hypothesis forming in my mind.  I was right.


Fake flowers were generously displayed in each garden pot.

From a distance everything seemed in place, but as you truly observed the yard with a hope of soaking in the beauty the feeling wouldn’t come.  It totally lacked spirit.

It lacked the essence of being REAL.

I pushed the stroller home, mulling over in my mind the parallels to  photography.

A lot of effort is exerted in this industry to create perfection. Photoshop thins people down, many sessions today are now stylized with trendy props and locations to give a magazine feel to the aesthetic even though many times the subjects have no connection to the props, subjects are coached into poses and expressions to mimic emotions… how often in my past had I myself directed my subjects to “pretend laugh”, or “act excited!”, further encouraging a facade of the APPEARANCE of emotion?  It didn’t seem to matter that it wasn’t real, as long as it LOOKED LIKE IT COULD BE REAL.

The problem is the same.  When we’re dealing with something fake, it is usually only enjoyed from a distance for a fleeting moment.  When we look closer, we’re not left with the ability to feel and experience the spirit that comes with authenticity.

I love how Jesh de Rox preaches that “If you want to feel something when you look at an image, you need to feel something when you make the image”.

I’m on a journey to find authenticity in my work.  To interact with my subjects in such a way that invites real feelings.

Therein is where the true beauty lies that can be enjoyed from both near AND far.

Want a truly great discussion on the topic of Authenticity?  Watch THIS.

Brooke Snow is a Lifestyle photographer in Cache Valley, Utah.  She is on an “Authenticity Mission” in all parts of life.  Whether it be trashing the silk florals in her home and trading them in for real living plants, taking down any piece of home decor that doesn’t match her style, admitting to the world that she truly hates shrimp, keeping her original hair color, or simply accepting the true hard facts that she will never be good at parties and celebrations, its all about keeping it real.

Brooke teaches private photography lessons , and online photography classes.

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