We asked you to share what was going on behind your photos on social media and found there was more than meets the eye.
Whether you’re a hashtag fanatic or not, we all relate to ‘#goals’. It’s this idea that we aspire to be someone, often on the basis of a single, glossy, visually pleasing photo. The rise of Instagram and other image based platforms means that we all know how to make the most mundane things look covetable. The ability to curate our reality with lighting, filters, resizing, and allows us to present the perfect image, without having to express what we’re going through. You could be tackling something emotionally exhausting or have taken half an hour to get the right shot, but no one can see that through a well-orchestrated photo. We know perfection doesn’t exist, but we like the idea and are drawn to anything that resembles it. It’s an ideology that needs to be dismantled and we wanted to help. We asked people to show us their #goals photos and share what was happening in their lives at the time.
‘I’m a dancer on the weekend so when I go to my club, it’s a completely different world to the day-to-day job that I’m in. You’re putting on your clothes and your makeup and you’re dressing up for other people that don’t really mean anything to you or really care about what you look like.’
‘I was filming a commercial for an Australian drinks company and in the picture the main actor is jumping off the cliff and I had to get a camera to look over the cliff as he was jumping off. I had to get a very, very long pole, put a go pro on the end of it, tie myself down and hang off the edge of the cliff to get the vertical shot. Someone else took that photo for me and sent it to me.’
‘This photograph of a boat in Leigh Woods was taken the morning after my boyfriend and I broke up. The life I had imagined myself having was all crumbling into dust and I had no idea what I was going to do with myself or how to cope with it and so I took myself off on a walk and I walked for miles and miles through Bristol. As I was walking through the woodland I stumbled across Luke Jerram’s exhibition. It was five fishing boats in the woods and they were all completely lost and out of place and so was I. I felt some kind of affinity, or happiness to see them there even though I was having pretty much the worst day of my life. Taking photos of these boats made me feel a bit more human for a while. I was doing something that I knew I was good at and that came naturally and that was what I needed at that time.’
‘This is a photo of my holiday to Greece this year – a place that looks absolutely lovely but a place where I felt uncomfortable to hold my boyfriend’s hand in public.’
‘This is from a photo shoot we did for the first photos to go on our website. It was a really hot summer’s day – I had just come back from holiday and I had tonsillitis. I could barely speak that day and it took us so many times to get one shot that actually looked decent. We had taken so many – we were awkwardly placed next to each other, our eyes were streaming with tears from the sun and we couldn’t see anything. So we had to do it over and over again and finally decided to put on our sunglasses, which was probably the best option. A lot of hard work went into getting just one usable shot.’
‘The day that the photo was taken was actually a pretty rubbish day. My mum’s really ill. I had gone to a doctor’s appointment with her in the morning just before work. I rocked up the office afterwards, which is where I took my photo. But it turned out when I went to the doctor’s appointment with my mum, she has something that her mum (my grandma) died from. So she’s at quite a high risk of dying. So that’s when I found out and I took this photo at work because I had to re-send a photo for Nikesh, and I did that. It’s really weird because I look really smiley in this 24 Under 24 thing that just came out. And it’s been really wonderful, everyone’s been lovely but it’s been quite a rubbish time. It’s weird because on two comparisons, my career’s going pretty well, life at home’s pretty rubbish, but I’m just trying to find that little balance and there’s this nice upside through everything.’
‘I took this photo a year ago, in summer, when I was on holiday in Kenya with my family. And I wanted to show everyone at home how much of a great time I was having. So I took a – you know, aesthetically pleasing photo, to make it show that I was having a great time on holiday, as anyone would be. But behind this photo, I was tired, sunburnt, I had just been ill the day before and I actually had to stay in my room because I was ill while my family was out. They had gone to a restaurant – they were eating out and I had to stay inside because I was under the weather. So yeah, everything isn’t always as it seems.’
‘It’s a picture of me but my hair took hours to get right, like hours. I had a full tantrum about it as well, screaming and getting really angry about the fact my hair wouldn’t look right.’
‘I posted it on Tumblr and I said, “I look low key angry, I’m in pyjamas and look a mess but I’ve just bleached my hair and I’m really happy.” It was meant to be a kind of ‘oh yeah, here’s a quick photo of me,’ but it was my fifth attempt. Including me moving rooms, turning the light on and standing and moving some clothing. I actually had to tidy up behind me.’
‘My family had been going through some major stuff just before my birthday, so I was wasn’t interested in celebrating at all. Little did I know my friends had been plotting a surprise party and 20 of them jumped out at me in my kitchen, including my sister and one of my best friends from home. I spent at least half an hour crying because I couldn’t believe something so amazing and thoughtful could happen considering the timing.’
‘It’s a photo of a drawing I was doing at a market, and it looks like I’m having a really fun time there. The market wasn’t actually as good as I was hoping and I’d paid quite a bit of money to be there, so I was feeling a bit rubbish about it. I decided to draw because I wasn’t making many sales and was just sat there.’
I went for this one, which is a photo of this really nice hummus and flatbread I got from Biblos. It’s a really nice photo but I was really hungover that day and it was my fix, but I was really hungover and tired so straight after that, I went to bed!’
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Rife is Watershed‘s online magazine created for young people, by young people.
We offer paid internships and publish work by young writers, photographers, illustrators, and filmmakers from all sorts of backgrounds, helping them get into creative careers. Rife has reached over 8,000 young people through our workshops, over 220 young people have made stuff for Rife on topics ranging from mental health to identity to baked beans, and last year, over 200,000 people visited our website.
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