3.03.2009

Photo Faux Pas...

Last fall I my school had a fundraiser where local photographers waived their sitting fees and donated the money to our schools. I had a wonderful photographer take pictures of the girls on the beach and the photos are gorgeous.

Earlier today I was looking at proofs trying to decide what to order. As I looked at the pictures some decorating advice that I've heard countless times sprung to mind.


"Personal photos should not be displayed in the "formal" areas of our home."


I even heard a friend of mine's husband tell someone at a party that the closer family photos are displayed to the front door the "lower class" a family tends to be. (Yeah, the guy's a pompous dick, but you can bet your bottom dollar I took away some family photos I had displayed in my foyer!)


I decided to do a little Google search on this subject and here's some stuff I came up with:

The San Francisco Chronicle had an article on this subject in reaction to a Pottery Barn catalog chock full of family photos blown up and displayed all over the house:

In a dining-room vignette, hanging on the walls and propped against a sideboard and leaning wall shelves, were gigantic photos of children and their parents, the occupants of this imaginary family's home. The largest was a poster-size image of a cherubic boy. Another, maybe 2 feet square, was of two young children. All of the images were in black frames that matched the sideboard and shelves.

To me, this seemingly innocuous decor represented the height of narcissism, the self-absorption of a generation more interested in turning the camera on themselves than outward. It seems the traditional ways of displaying family photos -- once relegated to the hallway or the mantel -- are no longer enough for the modern family. We must be surrounded by darling -- and colossal -- images of ourselves. Family photos have taken center stage, taken on a more important role in decorating and, perhaps, taken over.

Many decorators, consider over-the-top displays to be offensive and feel they actually detract from the decor. Exhibiting family shots in an artful manner requires the right place, creative framing and, just as important, discretion.


Most of the articles I read said indeed the rule of thumb WAS to keep the family photos to a minimum in common areas of the home, but that those rules have changed. Nowadays the trend in decorating is much more casual and personal than in years past.

What do you think? Do you have alot of family photos displayed in your home? If so, are they displayed in your living and family rooms?

I'm trying to decide what type of prints to display and where to put them and I'm wondering if I should keep them upstairs.


Please advise.


Tomorrow we'll discuss whether or not it's tacky to have chewed up Barbie parts and dog hair scattered about your dining room. Stay tuned.




34 comments:

Southern Fried Girl said...

I love the "closer the photos are to the front, the more low class the people" comment. Sorry but I'd kick him. Hard.

I do happen to have some (but I have scaled back significantly) personal photos in the common areas of my house. My personal reason is that most of my family is far flung and I miss them. Unless I want to cram photos of all of them in our bedroom, they do sorta have to be tossed about the house too.

However, as stated, I have scaled back but not for any other reason other than I had too much stuff in general out and I thought it was beginning to look cluttered.

Just A Chic... said...

I live in a large 3 bedroom apartment. Our hall houses our washer and dryer...no place for photos there. My dining room is where I eat. I have no desire to have faces staring at me while I feed my face. My bedroom is where I bump uglies. And once again...I don't need a wall of audience panels. Which leaves my living room and my kitchen...and since the kitchen seems to have been taken over by chickens...well, I guess I'm just low class. Shucks.

Mrs. K said...

well now I feel pompous.

We have three wedding photos hanging (one 8x10 and 2 5x7s) in a nook behind the couch right by my desk- we have an open floor plan...and then tons of family pics on 'picture' table behind the couch but this is old pics of all family members. fuck em'

Kate said...

I am the lowest of the lower class.
I have pictures of my Grandchildren right to the left of the front door. After reading what a faux pas this is I plan to add more pictures of my family I may add some to the outside as well including a collage on the garage door.

Hair Girl said...

I have my favorite shots of my boys on the side table in the foyer. These shots are changed out seasonally and were taken in that season. These are all framed beautifully and I love to look at my babies as they have grown.
I live in my house and everything in it should make me happy. I do take down most family shots during large parties, but only because I have too many decorations to leave extra stuff out.

BTW, I tagged you!

CashmereLibrarian said...

What could be better than books and then photos of the people you love in the places you spend the most time?

Of course, it's nicer if they're natural, not posed...ie the infamous "graduation poses" (although I admit to having my boys' in the living room).

preppyplayer said...

We have a gallery in our bedroom and on the fridge door. Otherwise all our pics are framed and placed on table tops or shelves. I was led to believe that family photos should not be mounted on the wall... I guess because I didn't grow up with them on the walls I didn't think to do it?

I think everyone can do whatever they want though, don't you?

Feener said...

ok first off, i love KATE and what she said. LOVE IT.

I am pretty much very low class according to these rules, if you open my front door, BAM - a photo of my little family of 4 sititng on teh beach is plastered on the first wall you see, on the side walls i believe there are 7 photos of my girls. TOO MUCH. who cares ????

if someone walks into my house and judges me for that FUCK EM. seriously where is this pompous rule book i have to live by to satisfy some prick who wears (most likely) clothes that cost more than my mortgage. i want real friends, who walk in and say hi - let's have fun. not - hi oh my they are low class b/c of that photo. sorry those type of things piss me off

Ned said...

I think my MIL's generation really believes this. It really bugs her that I have so many framed pictures of my children. Not in my dining room, but in my living room I have newborn to about age 2 displayed in silver frames. In my hall I have large black and white portraits of each child. BUT when I decorate for Christmas I move most to a box and replace with Christmas photos.

The Major's Wife said...

I actually have less out than I used to. I must be getting some class as I age....I doubt it...just living in a smaller house and the toys leave no space for photos.

Ashlee said...

We didn't have the access to pictures like we do now. With the digital camera now commonplace, we are taking tons more pictures (at a higher quality) thus giving us more to display.

And I have pictures EVERYWHERE! Formal areas, not so formal areas, mantle. I just love pictures!

Mama Wheaton said...

I hang what i love and I love my family!

DysFUNctional Mom said...

First of all, Kate is my hero.
She just inspired me to plaster pics of the kids on the front windows. Maybe the pets, too....
We only have a few pics in the living room but it's not because we're high class, that's fo sho.

Frau said...

OMG I'm white trash! It's a shocking discovery! I have pictures everywhere except the bathroom!

Being Brazen said...

I love Family photos all over the house.

I dont have a family of my own yet, but one day I will put up lots of pictures...Im in no way low class, but that has nothing to do with wanting to surrounded by beautiful family pictures, now does it??

:)

Being Brazen said...

great post

NJDecorator said...

Most of my family is either living far away or passed away. I have photo's everywhere so I can see them and remember happy times that the pictures represent.

Heck I have a tri-frame of my son winning his first wrestling match right inside the front door.

So you have another white trash reader here.

Now if I was decorating your home? I'd leave them out and let you add them after I left...lol.

jenn said...

Pfffffft. I'm going to hang photos wherever I damn well please, up to and including on a sandwich board, which I may or may not make my guests where when they visit my home.

My home is my sanctuary, and I make the rules. My decor is exactly what makes me happy. I have one photo of my girls as babies and two wedding pics (mine and my bro's) prominently displayed in the living room. Another small collage of the girls is on a side table in the living room.

Strikes me that what is "low class" is making judgments about people based on where they put their family photos.

Put your beautiful beach pictures of the girls exactly where they make you feel happy and full of pride whenever you look at them!

jenn said...

Oh, hell. "Wear", not where. I lose my spelling abilities when I'm ranting.

Sass said...

I HEART KATE'S COMMENT.

Sorry. Got excited.

Here's what I'd ask you...Are you submitting your home for the "Most Likely to Follow Photo Hanging Rules" contest?

Well, if you got 'em, hang 'em. ;)

I've got pictures in the living rooms, bedrooms...wherev. Because they make me happy, and that's all that matters. ;)

linda said...

Love Kate's comment too- so funny.

I have photos in silver frames in my living room and a portrait of my daughter over the mantel....

Also, Ned had a point in that it was more a generation or two ago that had those stringent "rules"... now, even the most traditional of homes tend to have more photos than in years past.

A Buns Life said...

hmmmm, VERY interesting. I don't have any family pictures in the dining room or the kitchen. I DO have some pictures of the kids in the fron foyer but the are are in black and white in black frames, which to me seems more formal. Same goes for in the office. All black and white. We have a few on the mantel and then a large framed family one on the wall in the living room. Upstairs in landing/hallway is where all the color photographs of the entire family (ours and extended) are. So, I don't know....I love our photos and we did just what worked better with our decor. I didn't think about what looked classy or not. WTF ever.

Dr Zibbs said...

I don't like any photos of my kids in our bedroom.

I also don't like when there are photos of my inlaws and they're within view of the TV. Distracting.

La Petite Redhead said...

Well, color me low class then since I have pics of the fam in the living room. : )

I don't have as many up as I used to since I painted 3 years ago and didn't feel like putting the pics back up but now, I feel like putting them all over the damn place! I'll let my low class flag fly!!

Well, except for the bedroom since I don't think I want to see my son or dog should I be getting lucky in there.

♥georgie♥ said...

to be honest i dont have a lot of photos around and not for any spefic reason either....
the beans school pics always go in front of last yrs and we havent had a family photo done in years...

Brie said...

I would have embarrassed to say something like that a party. That was toolish of him

I have family photos all over my house in tasteful frames and I love them - I think the secret is making it look not too cluttered. Less is more! I change the pictures in the frames too a lot -including in the foyer.

That guy would definitely call me low class and I'm not caring one bit. I think someone who would judge someone over something so dumb is low class ;) right?!?

I love your posts... they always get me going!!

Caffeine Court said...

In case some of you aren't familiar with my regular commenter "Kate" She's my mom!

simplynotso said...

I LOVE my beautiful black and whites going up my staircase!!My children and my beloved uncle.....i must be low down....but that means you are too:)

JyLnC said...

I guess it depends if you want to live in a showcase or live in a home. I have two pictures of my son in the livingroom. I don't know if that exceeds the "elitist" limit but who really cares.

Tickled Pink And Green said...

Interesting post! I've always wondered if I was "overdoing it" as far as pics are concerned. I have them EVERYWHERE....on the walls, in picture frames on chests, tables, etc. And I just don't care!

Smart A$$ Mom said...

I worked in design and have had designers work for me. The NCIDQ(the exam to be a interior designer) regulates's that Mr.Family Photos By The Front Door is white trash.

Pictures, of any scale, format, framed, canvas wrapped whathave you...can be displayed anywhere. The most prominent of families in the earlier times always had self portraits in the entry. And unless you have enough dough to hang an original Picasso, what the hell should you have? The mass reprint from Bed Bath and Beyond EVERYONE else has?

Far From Perfect said...

in my newest post -you can kinda see where I have hung my "family" photo's. I think it can be OVER DONE though. I do love a little bit of my family through out the house. I do change up photo's-seasonal etc....

Maybe if we took better pictures-and were better lookin!!!!

Maureen said...

I read this somewhere too... I also read that you shouldn't put children's pictures in your bedroom. I violate all the rules. But I do sometimes cringe when people remark, "Oh, you have so many pictures." That's not really a compliment, is it?

Alexis Black said...

I was telling a friend about this post, and commenting on what you must have thought when you came up recently to see the collage in our front hall and the family posed photo in our dining room....she reminded me that you probably thought we had taken a step up after having had the fake family that comes in the frames hanging there for almost a year! I was dying. I hadn't thought of that...I really had the fake family there for like 10 months. We set the bar for low class. LOL!

 
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