Things are Getting Real with Reality Reframed

Things are Getting Real with Reality Reframed

Over the past few months, I’ve made a commitment to myself to start to show glimpses into my real life; my chaos, my clutter, my learning curves, my process. More than ever before I’ve been hyper-aware of the damage that can be done by taking in too much perfection. It’s just not good for anyone to browse blogs, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest when picture after picture shows a perfect life everywhere else, for everyone else but us. Although I’m pretty good at not putting on my comparison pants, I have decided that I don’t ever want anyone to think that I must have a perfect life because of the images I share. Not that my images are perfect, but I do work really hard and showing the magic of my life. It makes me happy. Even still, it’s not showing the big picture.

I’ve grappled with how to accomplish sharing the visual reality of my life without scrapping all of my artistic sensibilities. After all, first and foremost, I consider myself an artist and it takes a lot of thought and creative energy to make my art and so of course, I want to share the art that I make and that I love. I mean, what artist wants to show work they don’t like? It’s not that I don’t like my life. Not at all. I love my life. But, I don’t love everything about my life. In fact, I struggle with many things, like mood swings and exhaustion, disorganization and clutter. But, my life is my art and the photographs I take are artistic expressions of who I am and the parts of my life that I do love. Each photo is a little snippet of how I choose to see my life, despite the struggle, despite the mess. My fear however is that snippet, that tiny slice of what I capture in my frame may not show enough of what the reality is.

Light bulb moment.

I figure instead of abandoning the art I love, I will show the reality along side of it. This is how the idea of reality reframed came about; sharing a snapshot of the bigger picture first and right next to it the snippet of I choose to look at it. I’ve never really done anything quite like this before but by revealing this part of the picture I hope that anyone watching will feel less alone in their own imperfect life. And I also hope that I can really drive the point home that you can excavate photo-worthy magic from everyday life, no matter how messy it gets. It’s part of the practice of elevating the everyday.

I guess with that, it’s time to start sharing my reality reframed.

reality reframed mess to nestreality reframed sink to swimreality reframed chaos to calm

So there it is. Three shots that show the real and the reframed version of the landscape around here. I didn’t move anything around to get the reframed shots. I just found something lovely amidst the mess and got in nice and close. It’s how I take most of my pictures, I frame the parts of my life that I love before I click the shutter. And, one last thing; if you think it’s easy to share the reality that’s as messy as this, you’re wrong. My stomach is in knots. No one wants to openly share a look behind the curtain, do they? Well, regardless how difficult it may be, I’m doing it anyway. Gulp.

Now, I’d better hit publish before I change my mind.


  • Marie
    Posted at 22:51h, 15 September Reply

    Tracey – you are eloquent, magically artistic AND above all, completely normal! Phew!! πŸ˜‰ Thanks for sharing your wise words & lovely images.

    • Renee
      Posted at 19:11h, 09 October Reply

      I love it! I was actually thinking today about how it’s so easy to put the shiny-est version of yourself on display in the blogging world and how detrimental that can be to your readers. Thank you for sharing!!

  • Kristal
    Posted at 03:15h, 16 September Reply

    Love it! Thanks for taking the plunge. I love seeing that other people have lives that are REAL…that their lives are just as messy as mine with laundry and dust and dirty dishes. πŸ™‚

  • Christina
    Posted at 03:23h, 16 September Reply

    I love this! The beauty of chaos can be an amazing thing! Thanks for hitting publish!

  • Elizabeth
    Posted at 04:48h, 16 September Reply

    I triple-love this idea, Tracey.

  • melissa
    Posted at 04:52h, 16 September Reply

    thank you for your courage to show the real. and thank you for your generosity to share the reframe, your gorgeous artistry. this perspective shift helps me literally see a way out of the negative spiral that has been consuming me. get in close, see a moment of beauty. grateful, tracey.

  • Stephanie
    Posted at 05:56h, 16 September Reply

    I love this idea! The chaos is life lived, there’s much beauty to be found there if we look for it. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  • Christine
    Posted at 06:01h, 16 September Reply

    beautiful ~ all of it

    i so relate πŸ™‚

  • Jen Lee
    Posted at 06:03h, 16 September Reply

    Cheering you on over here. YES to this, and more, please!

  • Tamara
    Posted at 06:31h, 16 September Reply

    Well…thank you SO much for the reminder. My lovely life is scattered with things I don’t always love, as well. Seeing your “reframings” is a great way to start the week.

    We should all strive to see the lovely – even if it is surrounded by a bit of imperfect!
    (O.K. , sometimes a lot of “imperfect”!)

  • Marina D-K
    Posted at 08:56h, 16 September Reply

    This is so beautiful and so authentic! Thank you! What a great first post to see this morning!

  • Blissmamaof3
    Posted at 09:27h, 16 September Reply

    Bravo on your bravery and imagination to accomplish both your goals of showing reality and honoring your art! Amazing how a creative crop makes all the difference and truly elevates the everyday. Thank you once again for the inspiration!

  • Barbara Hurst
    Posted at 09:46h, 16 September Reply

    Love the thought process here Tracy. Great way to display the beauty in everyday.

  • Jena
    Posted at 09:47h, 16 September Reply

    The lovely among the mess. I love this–to me it’s so much about context, knowing that every image (or often for me, string of words) always, always exists within and emerges from an entire context that is often, usually, not apparent to the viewer/reader. Deciding when to reframe, and in your case choosing to, feels like such the work of being an artist–and a teacher. And mostly, a human who sees beauty in the chaos but doesn’t want to paint only “perfect” pictures.

  • sperlygirl
    Posted at 09:54h, 16 September Reply

    what a wonderful idea and glimpse – brave, bold, and beautiful!

  • moosh in indy.
    Posted at 09:59h, 16 September Reply


  • Francisca
    Posted at 10:05h, 16 September Reply

    I really love this post. I love how you show me to see beauty in chaos, and I love to see how you are able as an artist to create such beautiful photos. It is really touching to see and very inspiring too! It is very honest and authentic. Thank you so much for sharing these photos!!!

  • Karla Pitts
    Posted at 10:06h, 16 September Reply

    Oh, my goodness, I love this blog post.
    I struggle so. I am a piler and not a filer.
    Thank you for the reality check.

  • Laura
    Posted at 10:06h, 16 September Reply

    “Beauty from ashes”. A partial quote from the bible. Or as a dear friend of mine says, “finding the beauty in the ugly”. It is what came to mind first as I looked at your images. Taking something not so photogenic and making it beautiful. This IS real life. This IS brave. And I thank you for sharing this glimpse into your life.

  • Sabine Hyldtoft
    Posted at 10:31h, 16 September Reply

    Tracey…. I love this post – you are so very generous with sharing your life, your thoughts, and your ART with us…. (and your little bits of mess). This is incredibly inspiring for me… I tend to always try to hide the mess or delete the not so pretty photos, but I think this will give me the nudge I need to find the beauty in the mess without re-staging everything…. Thank you!
    … Sabine H.

  • colette
    Posted at 10:55h, 16 September Reply

    wow! What a refreshing idea!! That is fantastic! I am super inspired

  • Jennifer
    Posted at 10:55h, 16 September Reply

    A great big HOORAY for you for being so brave. Because really, all of our lives have that messy look to it and we always feel the need to hide it. But there truth is, admits the mess there is beauty. Knowing that we do not have to have a perfectly tidy life to get the beautiful shot we dream up in our head….. all we have to do is seek out the beauty….now that is powerful.

    Tracey, you are so brave and such an inspiration. Thank you so much for sharing the big picture and the beauty you found within it.

    I adore you!

  • Myriam
    Posted at 10:59h, 16 September Reply

    you just keep getting better and better…

    love you

  • Suebob
    Posted at 11:55h, 16 September Reply

    I love this post and I appreciate this post. The only people I know who have perfectly organized, tidy lives don’t have a lot else going on (except my sister. She’s some kind of superhuman). Showing the beauty AND the chaos is brilliant.

  • Kim
    Posted at 12:02h, 16 September Reply

    Thank you for this! <3

  • Donna G.
    Posted at 12:12h, 16 September Reply

    Totally cool, Tracey! I wonder how I could adapt this for guests in our house. Maybe darkened glasses with only a little pinhole in the middle? =)

  • Angie Kyle
    Posted at 12:14h, 16 September Reply

    Just what I needed today. Thank you, thank you. Yes, it is overwhelming for us to try to have a perfect home so that our shots are perfect. I think we assume yours is perfect. What a relief to know you have all the same clutter as the rest of us. And now I feel totally inspired to find the beauty amongst the clutter. I had no idea.

  • melody
    Posted at 12:22h, 16 September Reply

    Sister Friend, you refresh my spirit. ox

  • Renee B.
    Posted at 12:29h, 16 September Reply

    What a great idea! I’m going to give this one a try. I even have a housekeeper twice a week (Thank God I am extremely allergic to dust) and I still can’t keep the house straight. My husband (playfully) says I spread things out like an oil slick!

  • Cyndy Recker
    Posted at 12:40h, 16 September Reply

    Thank you for sharing. This really helps those of us who have trouble with composition. It really is refreshing to see real life captured.

  • stefanierenee
    Posted at 14:04h, 16 September Reply

    love this and YES! bring on the imperfections and the reality πŸ™‚


  • Laurel
    Posted at 15:03h, 16 September Reply

    LOVE THIS!!! Thanks so much for “pulling back the curtain,” and also for the inspiration of how to find the beauty amidst the craziness of real life. True inspiration!

  • Swirly
    Posted at 15:35h, 16 September Reply

    LOVE this SO MUCH!!!

  • Susan Romick
    Posted at 16:12h, 16 September Reply

    I love it! I have often taken pictures of kids or things that I absolutely love until I look at the background and see things that are not so lovely and then I cringe. I always say, get over yourself, this is life.
    Good for you Tracey, we do need a reminder that the people we admire are not always the picture of perfection and we don’t have to be either. Life is too short. Thanks for sharing.

  • Curvedfeather
    Posted at 17:45h, 16 September Reply

    Love this! It’s such a refreshing perspective! Just in case you missed it there was a fun article in the NY Times Sunday about the positive correlation between mess and creativity.

  • Melanie
    Posted at 21:05h, 16 September Reply

    Thank you! You did yourself and all of us a big favour. You are one soulful and genuine woman. I think your “reality reframed” idea borders on genius. I hope this has been liberating for you. Beautiful.

  • Karen
    Posted at 22:23h, 16 September Reply

    Tracey , You ROCK!! Thanks for sharing. The ability to see beauty everywhere is so cool!! One day I also realized the only way to live in the NOW was to appreciate where I was, dirty dishes, cluttered desk and all!…just keep loving life and smiling.

  • Stacey
    Posted at 18:42h, 17 September Reply

    Love, love, love this!! What a terrific idea! I feel so much better about my mess. I put on my comparison pants really easily… now that I have that term for them, I hope to use them use! Thank you so much for sharing this part of your life!

  • Ximena
    Posted at 19:51h, 17 September Reply

    Love this! Thanks for a much-needed reality check, Tracy. It’s really helpful to see people we admire SO MUCH leading normal, mundane lives too. Your art is beautiful and oh-so-inspiring!

  • kelly
    Posted at 20:17h, 17 September Reply

    it does take a lot of courage to share the less than perfect parts of our lives. but what a gift you have given all of us. thank you so much.

  • moosh in indy. » just in case I had you fooled.
    Posted at 11:19h, 18 September Reply

    […] you haven’t seen Tracy Clark’s post about reality reframed, you must. Go, now. I’ll […]

  • Nancy Barnes
    Posted at 12:51h, 18 September Reply

    Tracey, this just shows how magical you really are! And thanks for a look at real life and the art you see in it.

  • Wendy
    Posted at 13:07h, 18 September Reply

    I do appreciate you sharing. I’m currently helping my neighbor who had some recent surgery and I pop over when she needs something. Having to go up to her bedroom, for me, a relief. I thought that I was the only one that lived with clutter in life. I’m not saying I wish I could just toss it because by the time I do get around to ebaying it….it will be worth nothing anyway. It really is refreshing and made me relax and let my clutter go and focus today in your class. And then I came across this post. I think someone is trying to tell me something. Spend more time doing the things I love and enjoy over worrying about the clutter. So, thanks for honesty. I feel so much better for have seen it.

  • Vicki Ross
    Posted at 13:37h, 18 September Reply

    So glad I subscribed to Moosh! Her post today led me direct to you. I’ve heard about the Facebook syndrome where everything is perfect and comments goosh with compliments and praise! So much so that in one of my FB groups I won’t allow just random image postings of art just created without some commentary about the challenge encountered and resolved.

    Just his send on a candid email to an internet friend about having to help our 13 year old Schnauzer cross the Rainbow Bridge yesterday, with the note that I didn’t think I could blog about it. SEE? nothing but sunshine and roses in my life either!!!

  • Sue Taylor
    Posted at 14:34h, 18 September Reply

    Oh this is such a BRILLIANT idea Tracey. It would be a lovely thing to do as a prompt in our Elevate the Everyday class but that is already written. It would make a wonderful stand alone class too. Imagine the real AND the creative and possibilities!!!

  • pam
    Posted at 16:07h, 18 September Reply

    Thank you for being courageous and sharing the real and the reframed. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and you have a wonderful eye for the beauty in the everyday. We all have our own reality. Now to look for the beauty in it.

  • Michelle
    Posted at 17:19h, 18 September Reply

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Some days I feel my house needs to be clean and chores done before I get to play with my camera. You have just given me permission to grab my camera no matter what the state of my house and see the beauty among the clutter. Thank you.

  • Jessica
    Posted at 17:56h, 18 September Reply

    I love this idea! Thank you for sharing!!!

  • Mye
    Posted at 19:55h, 18 September Reply

    thank you for sharing this, Tracey. I’ve always struggled about how to give better shots and not show the not so pretty side of the daily life but this concept is just the opposite and i love it! from now on, i’ll make sure to capture the pretty as well as the not so pretty side πŸ™‚

  • kelly barton
    Posted at 20:47h, 18 September Reply

    messy. perfection. truth.

  • Amanda
    Posted at 07:19h, 20 September Reply

    Life is so beautiful, the messy and the sublime side by side. Gorgeous.

  • Stubblejumpin Gal
    Posted at 12:19h, 20 September Reply

    This is a great idea, Tracey. You are using photography, of course, but we’re talking about the same thing really:
    how to be truthful and honest while still making choices about what to show and what not to show, and how.

    I have similar concerns about my handwritten journals, which I’ve kept for some 40 years, because what is written there may sometimes be intensely focused upon and very true at the moment it’s written, but it sure doesn’t provide the big picture and I think it would be misleading to anyone reading. Any situation that appears to be the main course is so flavoured with that moment that it doesn’t always include the aperatif or the dessert and it certainly can have little to no bearing on the “meal” I have later that day or the next morning. Yet a reader might draw conclusions about me from one day’s entry. This is why even though a handwritten journal seems intimate and personal β€” and it is β€” it’s not an accurate portrayal at all. It gives only a small slice of my perceptions and doesn’t always go on to offer the lessons learned, the values adjusted, and so on. I may change my mind the next day but never get around to writing about that.

    I guess it’s not the same as your photographs, but this is what your idea makes me think of!

  • Kerri.
    Posted at 19:47h, 21 September Reply

    My first time visiting your site, but I really love this. Thanks for zooming out to show the context, but cropping to show the beauty. I really liked both versions of the photos.

  • Kay T
    Posted at 07:04h, 22 September Reply

    Amazing description of what most of do on facebook. Thanks for being so brave.

  • Diana
    Posted at 17:49h, 23 September Reply

    love your honest, open, vulnerability

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  • Elizabeth
    Posted at 09:58h, 29 September Reply

    I love this idea so much! I also love to take photos from my life and work hard to make them beautiful. (Though I am far from professional). I think you articulate beautifully why we re-frame our life images to take away the clutter – its not because we’re all trying to hide the harder realities of our lives… its because we’re trying to make something beautiful out of them. And who doesn’t love to share something she’s made?

    Also, your reframed photos ae like a lesson in how to see the beauty in the banal. What a great post!

  • Chasity
    Posted at 19:50h, 03 October Reply

    Tracey thank you so much for this honest and heartfelt post. I found your reality photos to be every bit as beautiful as the artful photos (in fact I think both types of photos convey their own unique magic). You rock!

  • Mary
    Posted at 07:28h, 13 October Reply

    Tracy i love this. My husband and i have been involved with Marriage ministry and the one thing you have to do is learn to be transparent about your own life to reach others lives. Here you have been just that. It makes you real and relatable. The comnents show that this is most of us with busy lives. Thanks for being real. I love your heart, your vision and your work.


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  • Portia
    Posted at 21:52h, 28 April Reply

    Life is so beautiful up close-reframed and in true frame! Thank you for sharing your lens.

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  • Jeannine
    Posted at 05:12h, 15 May Reply

    A beautiful example and lesson in seeing the beauty in what could be seen as mundane or even chaos! Focus on the beautiful….it’s in there….it’s there for everyone!! Thank you for sharing and showing this to us so beautifully, so powerfully!!!

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