All about that perfect shot

Delivery room makeovers for that perfect first mother-baby picture have apparently become a thing these days. According to a report in The New York Times, a growing number of women are booking hairstylists and makeup artists to come to their hospital room for postpartum grooming, typically with the first photographs of mother and child in mind. Curling iron, hair dryer, boar bristle hairbrushes and makeup kit have reportedly become part of the crucial ‘equipment’ needed in these hospital rooms.

Today it's all about posting that perfect shot on social media
And what’s fuelling this trend? Why, social media of course. Childbirth is one of the most awesome experiences in a woman’s life, but definitely not the prettiest. So expectant moms are said to be increasingly shelling out hundreds of dollars to look pretty and polished after delivering their babies just so they can show off their babies in that perfect first photo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Unbelievable, right? What has happened to celebrating and enjoying the arrival and bonding with your baby? Clearly, the priority is no longer the baby nor the mother’s health, but getting that perfect shot out as quickly as possible.

Thankfully, we haven’t yet upgraded to this level here at home in Nagaland. Though baby photos are aplenty of course, I at least have not seen any immediate post delivery photos till date. But can that day be far away at the rate we are going?

We too have taken to this photo posting craze with gusto. Birthdays, weddings, anniversaries – evidence of any and every occasion has to be posted, and plenty of it.

Bought a new car or moved into your new home? Of course, you have to take a picture and upload it. After all, there’s no point in being privately happy about something nice happening in your life, is there? Everyone else has to know about it.

Not to mention parties and get-togethers with friends. Sometimes it seems like people get together not to actually have fun, but just to click and post images of it to prove to others that they’re having the time of their life. Pictures of every place you visit and everything you do have become a must.

Then there are those who bombard us with photos of their children. At times it feels like we know more about these children than we know our own. Every smile, every move, every antic they get up to, first day in school, last day in school, their first birthdays, second birthdays, third, fourth, what they did, the presents they received…….and so on and so forth.

No parent can be condemned for thinking that their children are the best, the cutest and the smartest and for wanting to show them off. It’s only natural. I’m a mother and I know how it is. But there’s also something called going overboard. After a time, the overexposure means it’s more like ‘oh no, not another one’ rather than ‘oh wow’. It also makes one wonder whether we are really enjoying our children or spending too much time thinking about how their pictures would look like on Facebook. 

Besides, there’s nothing sacred between you and your child anymore if you’re going to post every intimate moment you share for public viewing, is there?

Over and above this, there are the risks of putting up young children’s pictures online. When I see people frequently posting their children’s photos in all sorts of poses, I always wonder whether they are aware that it’s a dangerous world out there in cyberspace. A little careful thought before posting your child’s photo would be a good thing.

Moreover, technology changes quickly and who knows, five years down the line you might find yourself deeply regretting what you post about your children today.

I’ve also seen some people posting over a hundred family vacation photos at a time. OMG, first of all, where are they getting the time and patience to upload so many photos at a go? And, secondly, who has the time and patience or interest to view so many photos of someone else’s vacation? Putting up four or five good or funny ones, if you really want to, is fine, but forty-fifty is way too much and in hundreds is just plain crazy over the line.

Instead of being in the moment and enjoying the times with family and friends, these days everyone seems more concerned about getting that perfect shot to show off on social media and get that precious ‘like’. There’s this brag culture that social media has spawned which has us so busy narrating our lives online that we’re missing out on the real thing.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that photos should not be posted at all. I too love to see pictures of family and friends and also to upload some of my own. But it’s nice to keep some family occasions and outings just that – a family thing, isn’t it? It’s also nice to just do some things sometimes without thinking of capturing it on camera for others to see. 

There’s so much more to life than Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or what have you. Instead of constantly worrying about capturing the best of the moments, it’ll serve us better to immerse ourselves into those moments and enjoy them fully. Or else, we may very well find that life has passed us by while we were waiting to get that perfect shot.