Cropping Life

Recently my children have taken an increased interest in cooking. My oldest daughter, in fact, wants to be a chef. She doesn't get this from me. I simply want meals that everyone in my household will enjoy to miraculously descend upon our kitchen table at dinnertime without much forethought or preparation on my behalf. 

A woman can dream.

For the past the several afternoons, my two younger girls have stationed themselves at the kitchen island to concoct their creations. Being the good mother that I am, I grabbed my camera to document the experience. (And the chef hat. Primarily the chef hat.)

I stretegically positioned myself to capture a close-up of their faces. I didn't want too much of the refrigerator to show.

I changed angles to depict their intense concentration.

When reviewing this particular photo, one of the first details I noticed was the open drawer in the background. Momentarily, I considered returning to the kitchen, closing the drawer, and snapping another picture. The girls were still cooking, after all.

But that would have been cheating.  That would have been altering life to capture it in a way in which it doesn't actually exist, a world in which drawers never are left ajar. 

If we're being entirely authentic, a photo that showcases my kids actively mangling various pieces of fruit ought to have an open drawer or two.

Whether through my subjective angling during photo shoots or my editing afterwards, I wonder if I sometimes crop out the most interesting parts of the pictures: the common objects that I take for granted, the messes that I want to pretend don't exist, the background details that reveal our current life as it actually is. 

Maybe I need more pictures of the refrigerator, not fewer.  Maybe I ought to be remembering the calendar with its crossed-off days and the tempera-painted crocodile that my three-year-old made in preschool.  

Maybe I should be documenting the birthday party invitation, and the Cinderella coloring page, and the soccer snapshot, and the school menu clamped to the side.  Maybe I shouldn't crop out the paltry bag of bread on the counter (even though it only contains the two unwanted heels), or the lantern that Joel took from our shed so he could position it on the stairs for safety while playing a game of hide-and-seek in the dark with the girls.

Years down the road, perhaps the pictures that speak to me the most will be the ones that provide a realistic glimpse into the ordinary stuff, the ones that so easily could have been cropped.

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  1. Such great perspective, in more ways than one! Loved this idea thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Excellent post! When I had our 3rd child I quit having time to 'crop' things out - and I kinda like it! :)


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