When I was a kid, my mom used to say, “Never go to the grocery store hungry.” For a long time, I thought it pertained to just the grocery store — you buy more unnecessary items when you’re hungry. Now I know it means so much more.
As a photographer, on a recent wedding shoot, I realized I felt this way about Pinterest. I love Pinterest. I can pin and like and favorite ideas into next week, but that’s where it ends — at the inspiration. That’s the idea — to get inspiration. Not to copy and paste Nancy from Hoboken’s birthday party to your apartment in Portland. Or, in this case, a bunch of different weddings into yours.
If someone has been properly inspired by Pinterest, spectators like me can’t tell. But other times, it’s like walking into a Pinterest search for “wedding ideas.” It’s hodge-podge and often lacking any personal touches. On the surface, it looks cute, but all the ideas were copied and pasted from other people’s ideas to real life.
In photography, people often look to Pinterest for portrait poses and general photography ideas. When I have a bride who wants photos taken exactly like those on her Pinterest board, I worry. How can I, as a photographer, possibly make this bride happy? It’s virtually impossible.
Every bride wants to be uniquely beautiful no matter her height, weight, nationality or religion. An individual. But, lately, it’s like many brides want someone else’s wedding.
Each event is made up of memories unique to that event, people, venue, weather, lighting, decor, attire and ambiance. When people use Pinterest to copy and paste another person’s memories, they are abandoning their individual and unique place in this world and forgetting — and not exercising — their own creativity. They aren’t embracing the once-in-a-lifetime event that is uniquely theirs, sitting right in front of them. They can’t see their own wedding for the Pinterest board in the way.
Their creativity is eating Doritos on the couch with a 2-liter bottle of Fanta instead of running around trying to figure out what suits them — them –– not Nancy in Hoboken.
The idea of Pinterest is to inspire ideas, for people to take them and create their own (fill in the blank). It’s a jumping off point. If you’re too hungry, you take Pinterest too seriously and take it verbatim. Literal. Gospel. Copied bouquet for bouquet, quirky photo for quirky photo.
Don’t go to the grocery store hungry, or in this case, don’t allow your Pinterest boards to disable your creativity. Enable it. Nancy in Hoboken does.
Tiffannie Bond is the Media Relations Specialist and photographer at Imagine Communications. She can be reached at email@example.com.