Five years ago Cameron and I were hanging out with our good friends (and my cousin!) Emilee and Chip, and we got cruising sites like Cake Wrecks and Regretsy. “Man! There needs to be a site like this for failed Pinterest projects!” Light bulbs went on for all of us. After doing searches online, we found a few minor sites, but nothing much about Pinterest Fails. So we decided to start our own blog about our Pinterest Misadventures.
That one night and “small” decision has made such a huge impact on our lives! It’s seen some of the most transformative years of our lives, has shaped how I approach homemaking, and it even has affected my business ideas and how I approach photography.
At Pinstrosity we started with the tag line of “A pin of often great size, force, or complexity” but as we grew and as the site fell into it’s own place in the internet world we ended up with a second tagline: “Life isn’t Pinterest Perfect, and neither are we.” What started as a site to poke fun at ourselves ended up being a site where people sent in pictures and stories of their “failed” projects, and then we would try to research and diagnose what went wrong (sometimes testing the original pin out ourselves). Our number one rule to our approach was that this wasn’t a site to make fun of failed attempts, but rather to create a community where you could come laugh at yourself and we could all chuckle and shake our heads. And the community exploded! Readers were thirsty for a place where they could come and be themselves and if that meant that they couldn’t get a Pinterest cake, or lantern, or painting, or playdough right, then they were still perfectly normal and okay. They wanted to know perfection wasn’t required.
As we worked to daily or weekly remind our readers that they are enough and that 90% of the time real life doesn’t look like Pinterest and that it’s not supposed to. We worked to convince our readers that there is beauty in real life, and there is bravery in doing a project inspired by Pinterest whether it turns out or not. As we worked to reassure our “Pinstrosipeeps,” as they got dubbed, our lives and outlook changed. We believed what we were saying, but as we reaffirmed that over and over again, it became a deeper part of who we are.
That approach, that idea has sunk deep into every part of me. I love Pinterest with all my heart, it can be such an amazing tool! But if we let it, it can destroy us as well. It’s all in how we approach it. Pinterest is not there to show you what your life should be. It’s not there to show you where you’re failing. Pinterest is there to inspire. To push you to try new things. To help you discover your style. To bring a smile to your face. To organize ideas. But definitely not to depict what real life look like.
Real life is beautiful. It is messy. It is complex. It is snuggles when the 3 year old falls out of bed. It is muffins that didn’t puff up. It is tired kisses when my sweetheart walks through the door after we’ve both had long days. It is a bag of fruit a friend drops off. It is appointments, bowls of cheerios, crooked picture frames, sunrises, sunsets, and storms. But there is beauty in every bit of it. There is power in the emotions of real moments, and there is grace in every second.
That is the approach I strive to bring into every wedding I shoot. Weddings are beautiful days full of gorgeous dresses, handsome grooms, carefully picked flowers, and grandma’s earrings. It is a day full of emotion, tradition, love, and life. Real life. It is the start of a new life as each couple becomes the founding unit of their family. I want your photos to be beautiful, not just visually but emotionally as well. I want them to capture Dad’s real smile as he see’s his sweet girl in her dress for the first time and as it becomes all to real suddenly for him. I want to capture Grandma’s earrings styled sweetly next to your beautiful ring, reminding you that she is there with you and her legacy carries on through you. I want to capture the way your sweet bride tucks her head into your chest when she laughs at a joke you just made. I want to capture the pure fun and joy of your best friends out on the dance floor celebrating your happiness. I want these memories to be yours forever! Wedding photography to me is more than just pretty pictures, it is the creation of time capsules of emotion. It is preserving emotion and memories for you and your great-great grandchildren.
Today we announced the official closing of Pinstrosity. Emilee and Chip are expecting their miracle baby (WOO!) and my family and photography (and my sweet and awesome couples) need my full attention. This is a bittersweet move for us. Pinstrosity has seen us “grow up” in a way, and it’s sad to have this era end. However, for us Pinstrosity never ends. It’s part of us know. It’s helped shape who we are. And because of Pinstrosity, I truly believe that “Simple is stunning, and real life is beautiful.”