I can almost immediately understand if someone is an American or a Canadian expat just by walking in their house, here in London. On their walls, on their tables, you can immediately see a lot of photos; their families, themselves and friends in all sorts of events. The best images seem to have a special place in the house, but you can see one person’s history just admiring their images, even the snapshots. This is one crucial difference between the British and the North American culture, and if you have friends coming from the other side of the pond, try and take notice of it next time you are in their house.
What we have come to discover, is that many times having a photo of ourselves hanging from a wall is considered narcissistic for the British culture. With few exceptions, which are probably coded and known by those born and breed in this beautiful country, photos remain somewhat for more private places than walls.
Faby and I believe that having images of ourselves on the wall is not necessarily narcissistic. On the contrary, they are a tribute to our lives, a reminder of who we are, who we were, where we come from and how we get where we are today.
Photography as turning points
In everybody’s life, there are turning points, moments that changed who we are. Sometimes those moments are public and known, such as weddings or births, some other times they are unknown to anyone else and they are personal. We look back at our past, and sometimes our memories fails, but having images to remind us of those moments it is something priceless.
The real element, in my opinion, is that the images we hang on the wall are so valuable only to us. A photo we took when we turned thirty may look just another image to someone else, but we know what it means. A photo of us coming out from a troubled story may look just a normal image to everyone else, but we know it means we were able to stand up, being proud of who we are and being ready to face happiness.
“The” photo of Fabiana
There is one photo of Fabiana I am particularly proud of. It is a photo that many saw and that is hanged on the wall of our living room. It is also the same photo that I have famed and that I keep on my bedside table. Yes, as you may have thought, it is the photo that comes with this blog post. There are two sides to the same image: the public and the private. The public image generates over and over again a similar reaction in those who see it for the first time:
“Wow, what a beautiful phot… Oh My God, Faby, this is You! Gorgeous!”
Someone that makes Fabiana proud and shy at the same time.
But there is so much more about this photo that the eyes cannot see. It is about our personal story, about following our dreams, about trusting our gut feelings. This photo of Faby was taken in our first ever studio session. She was, and she always will be, my Muse. When I look at this photo, I clearly remember that day in May when I shoot it. I remember how frighten I was to be in a studio with a beautiful model, with the responsibility of capturing on camera the same beauty I was able to see and appreciate every day.
I have to admit that, for being my first time in a studio, I did a fairly good job.
If you are looking for a sign, this is it
We have noticed that many women we photograph have the doubt that having their own photos hung on their walls would be narcissistic. As you may see this is not our idea, and I am not saying this because I want you to buy a wall portrait as there are many other, and more private, products we can sell. We think that having your history on the wall is one of the most gratifying things in life.
If you are looking for a sign that will show you that is ok to have your photos on your walls, THIS IS IT!