Friday, January 6, 2017

Perfectly-Styled Quinoa Salads (and other thoughts about the Internet)

The bread is just so pretty!

On the Internet lately, I’ve seen some fed-up people complaining about the proliferation of beautifully-Instagrammed photos that show idealized snapshots of people’s lives: the perfectly-style quinoa salads, the herbal tea in mason jars with hand-knit cozies, the baby photos of an angelic child who looks like they’ve never had a meltdown. The complainers moan about how all these things make them feel inadequate and depressed, and how the people who post these photos are trying to create a false picture of themselves.

Although there’s definitely some truth to that, I think that it’s a fairly negative view of the situation. First of all, the Internet doesn’t have to be a raw, unfiltered, completely honest look at every detail of your life. Why should it be? True authenticity happens in face-to-face relationships, so it’s reasonable to vet the details that make it out to your 300 Facebook friends.

And when you do you choose to post a photo of something, why not take the time to make it look pretty? I don’t photograph the pictures of the quesadilla I make that melts all over the panini maker, but I do style and take pictures of the kale salad that I picked from my garden because it’s so pretty! Life is about creating beauty, in all forms. When I see a beautiful plate of food, it inspires me to put a bit more effort into my presentation. If I’m having a bad day, I might feel envious of the person’s perfect meal, but that’s my problem, not theirs.

I know there’s an epidemic of people grabbing for attention on the Internet. But honestly, if someone’s trying to get simple positive affirmation from fellow human beings, “Look at how pretty this sandwich is!” seems like a good choice to me.

We can understand that people’s lives aren’t picture-perfect and still enjoyed staged pictures of a superfood vegan bowl. I understand that every meal doesn’t look like that. You understand that. But I think food is pretty, and quite frankly, the Internet needs more pretty stuff.

I say, bring on the artistically-plated salmon filets with lemon and capers. Post that 812th picture of your dog. Take the baby photos when your child is looking like an angel instead of a demon. Send Instagrams from your trip to the beach. And yes, take those selfies. People who want to share in your joy will, and those who have a hard time with remembering the reality behind the highlights can choose to scroll past your posts. Let’s keep sharing the simple beauty of life!


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