Sham of the Perfect

Sham of the Perfect is a collaborative project that I co-founded along with Erika Roa and Natasha Kelly in the winter of 2014. We put together a group of 15 photographers located around the world to document and share the reality of what it looks like to be a family. We are dedicated to capturing life as it really happens- no pinteresty worthy coordinating outfits, no posing in a field at golden hour, no immaculately decorated houses that look like model homes, and forced smiles that stand in for actual happiness. Instead we offer up our own lives as we truly live them- full of messes, dirty faces, and the full range of human emotions.


Our name comes from a poem by Sarah Dunning Park:

A Spring Issue

Standing in line
at the grocery checkout
my eye slides over your glossy cover

and I imagine kicking back
in a quiet room at home,
sunlit air from the window
fluttering your bright pages.

I would quietly feed on
your inspiring concepts
for dining al fresco, plus
one hundred great ways
to bring back the romance
(and still get dinner on the table).

Actually dinner
is burning in the oven
while I fitfully pore over
page after page
of simulated perfection,
my brain racked by the effort
of mentally tallying these things
I surely need:

a battery of skin-care
potions to charm my face
into a pristine, even poreless
surface and a new wardrobe
that flatters my assets
while suiting my age
(as well as resisting stains)
and that Viking range
with granite countertops
where I’ll roast local lamb
or raptly dice Vidalias
at the end of each day
dedicated to meditative yoga,
to targeting and toning and
releasing stress and toxins-

not to mention toxic emotions,
rising to a high boil
with my ravenous heart,
now bleating for a taste of the flawless
(which I think I’ve just beheld
her within your pages).

Little can I do
but dish up our lenten meal
(peas and potatoes)

and then I will sacrifice you,
sham of the perfect,
to the trash, sprinkling you
with the crumbs of tonight’s
charred fish sticks.