Tight Shot, Wide Shot

One of my dearest friends, Brantley, called me today for a quick pep talk.  Y’all have met him briefly in a story about painting elephants (and ukeleles). And in the story about dust being dust and being all that we are. He and I have known each other since 1985.  Brantley caught the bouquet when Richard and I got married. So yeah, we go way back.

He said something that spends so much time rattling around in my own head that I thought it was an echo at first.  “Everyone on Facebook seems to have their shit together and I don’t know what I’m even doing.”

Sound familiar? Oh, Brantley, my love…let me share a little something with you.

Tonight, I looked around my house and started thinking about tight shots and wide shots.  Here’s a tight shot from my dining room:


Mahogany inlaid table. Elegant screen.  That silver wine coaster?  It’s Hermes, darling.  I bought it in Paris. This is what we put on Facebook.

Now here’s the wide shot:


Art projects hanging from the art, PS3 chargers, Christmas ornaments that need to be glued together, ripped upholstery, tarnished candlesticks, and more crumbs ground into that Persian rug than our dog can eat.  This is real life.  (Even my camera balked at the scene.)

Here’s a tight shot:


Hand tied Armenian wool rug with lapiz field featuring jade and ruby accents.

Wide shot:


Green pleather purse that doesn’t match a damn thing but it was $18 at Kohls two seasons ago.  Stack of books I haven’t read. Stretchy pants. Apron strings because the apron my mom gave me hasn’t made it back to the kitchen yet.  It’s only been sitting there a month. And there are Lego bits just out of the frame. This is real life–the wide shot!

Here’s another tight shot kind of vignette that I would put on Facebook to make everyone think I have my shit together:


These are just a few of the antique Christmas ornaments that I have collected on my travels.  The beaded stars are from a tiny shop in Prague under Karlov Most. The pink bell came from a junk store in Bermuda. The green frosted ball is from…you get the idea.  This is Facebook. Oh, and to throw in a little Pinterest, these ornaments are displayed on a branch that I found down by the river and REPURPOSED in a vase of river stones.

Wide shot:


That scraggly old limb has been up in the corner of the living room since 2004.  Have I dusted those balls?  Hell, no. My balls are nasty. (Never thought I’d be saying that on the line.) That’s two Hefty bags of clothes that need to go to the thrift store.  Does anyone need a telescope for their living room?  We have two.  And these are just our upstairs telescopes.  There are a few more in the basement.  Life with Mr. Science is not tidy. (At which point he normally yells, “That’s DOCTOR SCIENCE!” then scatters more cracker crumbs on the sofa.)

I took a few more of these tight shot/wide shot combos, like in the bathroom and the kitchen, but I’m scared DFCS or the EPA will come get me if I post them.

Facebook: tight shot.  Real life: wide shot.

21 thoughts on “Tight Shot, Wide Shot

  1. Kim Tackett

    Ashley, I’ve been reading your work since I met you at BlogHer. I love this. It reminds me of a line from the show, Portlandia…”don’t believe all the photos you see on Facebook. The sadness has been cropped out.”

  2. Chris Antenen

    Love this — in the midst of cleaning up so my ‘help’ can clean tomorrow. She’s been with us for 16 years, She’s from Haiti and we watched and tried to help as she got her citizenship papers. Not an easy process. I don’t know who was happiest. Well, yes I do. This week she got a jury summons. I told her now you really are a citizen. She’s scared, so she said she might hype up the accent a little. I said, “No, no, you want to do this, see how it works.”
    She called, coming tomorrow and has to call the courthouse tomorrow night. Whew! This is where the selfish me comes out.

  3. Julie

    I DID actually laugh out loud on the last one. Great to see you today at Wesleyan; loved your speech. (Dr. Karin says you must accept that compliment) I KNOW you’re doing your best. Don’t fret, there’s plenty of us out here with nasty balls too. God love you, girl.

  4. Amanda Harris

    Perfect for my life! Thank you!! My wide shots of the kitchen will also never, E-V-E-R be on Facebook!! 🙂

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