High Five for honesty and authenticity

“Hi Petsy. We are interested in a family photo shoot but we are just a normal family. We are not Instagram-worthy…”
For the past year or so, I have been getting inquiries like this. What the h***?

I love Instagram, don’t get me wrong. And this is not about Instagram (or any other social media platform) in iself. It is about self-consciousness and self-esteem.

Instagram is a visual platform. It’s addictive feeds of fitness models, exotic travel, and photo-perfect moments don’t match with our comparatively humdrum and badly lit lives. The discontent caused by that disconnect results in family-image issues in parents who consequently lack the confidence to hire a photographer. They’d rather miss capturing their precious family moments. They degrade themselves as not Instagram-worthy, completely forgetting that what we see is rarely reality (that’s a fact, trust me, I am a photographer!).

Professional images are a construction by a group of professionals (hairstylists, makeup artists, photographer, stylists and assistants) plus pre-production, post-production etc.

Photography is powerful. Superficial or not, it can have a huge impact on people’s lives. Pack the dominant narrative of an image obsessed road runner culture on top of it and ‘normal families’ are bowing to the social media pressure of magazine-worthy homes, size zero moms and busy dads (as if ‘busy’ was a batch of honor). As a people photographer I have a responsibility and I am stepping up to it.

In a first step, I set up a Europe-wide campaign ‘Embrace It All’ – where I collaborate with Mommy Bloggers and Influencers to raise awareness for the beauty of mundane family life. I want to make families proud about the unique life they are creating and crafting every day by SHOWING them the beauty in the biggest task they have ever taken on: parenthood.

In a second step, I have altered my services. I have been a ‘lifestyle photographer’ for many years, photographing weddings and families in a styled, optimized setting, getting significantly involved in locations, poses and posing. Although I have always made sure that the images were very natural, and families having a great time, lifestyle photography inherits the element of ‘inauthentic’.

I am a family photographer with all my heart because I believe your story matters (ALL OF IT) and is meant to endure in images and heirlooms that span generations. Over the years, I have been growing and constantly evolving as a photographer and artist. I have arrived at a point in my career where deep down, only documentary photography feels right for me. And apart from anything, photojournalism is what I love most. So, from today onward, I will solely offer documentary style photography.

True happiness involves the pursuit of worthy goals. I am very excited! Watch out for those tour dates and collaborations, I will keep you posted.



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