Late last year, around holiday season, I started to notice friends and family posting away on social media about their upcoming plans to travel or adventures they were off on. It genuinely made me happy for them and excited to see where their travels would lead them. In my own life there wasn’t a whole lot going on. My husband works a lot as do I, so we often forget and don’t take the time to vacation and travel unless it is tied to work. It started to make me long for dragged on days at a beach somewhere, or hop in the car and cruise to some unknown destination like everyone else seemed to be doing. Well, I let that feeling go and got back to my day to day when I got a message from a friend letting me know that her and her husband were having trouble in their marriage. She was devastated. Her whole life crashing before her eyes. It took me by surprise because online it seemed like her life was perfect. I took her out for coffee and we talked about her life in the past year. How many arguments they had been having and how she didn’t think they could move past all this negativity. It made me hurt for my friend. It also made me think about how much social media has changed our perspective on life and how we often show one part of ourselves online while the real version of us is hidden in the 4 walls of our bedroom. I do it all the time. I tell myself things like “I don’t want to burden my friends with my problems” “They can’t see my dirty laundry, lets post a photo of my son instead” and a whole plethora of reasons I tell myself to hide certain aspects of myself. Self preservation, for lack of words. It inspired me to do a personal project that, with the help of my best friend Lily, I titled #nofilter.
The whole purpose of it was to show what could be happening behind the scenes when someone posts something online. To consider that next time you talk to a friend or comment on some random photo that life may not be 100% what they are showing. Let’s be kinder, gentler with each other. Social media has made it, in some instances, easier to be cruel and judgmental and basically create hate over someone’s well being. The whole concept of “the grass is always greener on the other side” and what not. I know I have been guilty of it… more than I care to admit.
The story of the following photos will take you through what we normally see online (an exaggerated version at times) of happiness and being carefree, to putting down the camera and stripping down all the layers and taking away any filters we put up online, to finally what is actually happening behind the phone or computer screen.
Mayra (model for this series) sent over a few thoughts after our shoot that I wanted to share:
“Welcome to the inner depths of my being. These images were taken 7 months into my husband’s deployment, six months after my dad’s freak accident, three days after my grandmothers passing, and just a few short hours before I found out one of my dearest friends is having emergency surgery the next day because well… cancer creeped up on him.
Every single emotion you see here is real. Just like you, I have cried myself to sleep. Just like you, I’ve had my heart broken, and just like you I love to laugh. The biggest truth is that just like you, I keep the most raw and most disturbing emotions tucked away in a far away land far from my perfectly orchestrated universe.
Have you ever felt an ounce of shame because you got emotional over a car commercial? Or perhaps there was a scene in a movie that caught you off guard and it slowly built that knot in your throat… yeah, it’s embarrassing. Who wants to see us cry? Why the heck are we getting emotional over something that’s not even real. Imagine that feeling times a thousand and five. Being completely bare sharing my deepest, most overwhelmingly raw emotions. It was like scraping layers off my skin until I was ultimately, utterly, emotionally naked. It was all too real.
I got up, washed my face threw on some red lipstick and boxed all those emotions and locked them up where they’re safe. Deep in my soul.”
Here is to us being real and shedding all of our filters!
Big thanks to JD Renes and Mayra Fiori for all of their help on this extremely personal project.