Life’s not quite as picturesque as Instagram pictures make it look. Kids don’t smile when you ask them to, family rooms aren’t spotless and clutter-free, and moms don’t always have it all together. That’s why Danielle Guenther’s Best Case Scenario series of photographs speaks so well to parents. The Hoboken, NJ-based family photographer has taken to adding some real-life (though somewhat exaggerated) photos into her mix, and the results are hysterical.
“I have a regular client that I photograph, and I was over at her house,” Guenther explains. “It was at the end of the session, and the mom, [who] is always a total blast, just laid down on the couch, and I [said] we should do a funny one. She has a wonderful sense of humor, [and] she was all about it! And then it just spiraled out of control in a really great way.”
From that single “Parenting Is Exhausting . . .” photo, a series was born. There are currently 13 pictures in the series — including “Fully Loaded” — most of which are inspired by Guenther’s 5-1/2-year-old son.
“A lot of these ideas you think back to when he was a baby,” she explains. “The ‘Hold On a Sec . . .” photo where they’re crossing the street. Mothers are always doing everything with crap all over their strollers, picking up the dry-cleaning. That’s the scenario: you running errands and your husband holding up his finger — hold on a second; I’ve got to check the score. That’s life; that’s how it is!”
Guenther doesn’t have Instagram, so she’s not inspired by the perfection that is so prevalent on the social photo sharing site. Rather, she’s inspired by the truth that is parenting. “This is real, this is life, this is parenting. Parenting is so ugly, but there are moments that are so beautiful. Just when you think you have it under control and you’re like, ‘Oh, yeah, this is great. My kid’s using his manners,’ they slam the door in your face and they scream at you! But nothing in life is perfect.”
She will continue her photojournalistic-style family portraiture, but it is these stylized photos that really motivate her these days. “I want to know what’s going on before you got to the shoot. I want to know what goes on at home, behind closed doors. If you can find a funny take on life, you’re ahead of the game.”