Real is Better Than Perfect

If you have been following Death to the Stock Photo on Instagram, you’ve seen that we’ve been traveling since April 24th, starting in San Francisco and ending next week in New York city. We crowd-funded the trip from the subscribers we’ve built a relationship with over the last year.

5+ cities to create art, meet with interesting people and companies, open road, good food, good coffee.

Part of the reason we were able to fund this trip was that people were interested in following along to feel like they were right there with us. They too wanted to be out of the office traveling, and have followed vicariously through our photos.

And we enjoyed sharing that with them and with the online community like Instagram, that has been amazing to be a part of. 

The internet was so widely adopted because it turned us all into voyeurs. 

For the first time we get to know what other people are actually up to around the world, day to day. 

It’s fascinating, and addictive. 

How do other people live? Are they going through what I am?

Humans are the most fascinating of objects to follow. 

Through online communities like Facebook, Tumblr, and Reddit we browse through commentary on daily life, photos and experiences in every type of niche you could imagine. Blogs about being vegan in a city, marrying French men, owning a business with your spouse, going through a divorce, or road tripping across the country. 

It’s about human life and expression and there are now millions of posts a day fueling the web. We want to share experiences just as we want to consume. 

Then a simple mechanism was added that has warped our perspective.

They added the “Like” button. It was so inherent. Duh! We all want to be liked. 

Our desperate need for social validation transcended onto the web, so we put a filter on our expression to maximize our value and the feeling of social validation. 

Our Road trip photos are literally filtered, curated, edited. I wasn’t in Chicago yesterday but I still posted like I’m there. We literally EDIT out imperfection with computers in the search for validation.

We strive for perfection, but in reality, every day we are failing. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just how it works. We must fail to succeed. Every day I wake up and fail at a few things and then look online and everyone is a success. 

I’m worried that we’ll forget that failing is part of the process.

How can I trust someone with a perfect life? 

I trust failures because I know they are actually doing the work.

What I really want is meaning. Honest expression without care for reputation. Real relationships, with those unafraid to dive into the deep and expose what they’ve found.

CultureDavid Sherry