Why Do You Keep Me Hanging (On Your Wall?)
Can you give me some good ideas about where and how to display family photos? I always felt weird when I would go to someone’s house and they would have say, a large photo of themselves, above their bed. Is there a rule about who should be in the photos you put around? People you don’t see often or people you see every day? Or just photos that make you feel good?
I really want to know who’s house you’ve been to where you’ve seen a large photo of him or herself over the bed. I’m dying to know who were you with. Robert Evans? Hugh Hefner? Raquel Welch? Angeline? Oh wait- it’s 2018. Sorry- your description tore a hole in the fabric of time and I was transported for a moment. Ok, I’m back now.
Generally, I’m not a fan of The Shoulds- they are on the top 40 way too often, way over-played. But I’m going to play them for you here.
You should ONLY display photos that make you feel good. Period. Do I need to explain the basic feng shui of this? This isn’t even an Ancient Chinese Secret. There is nothing worse than photos of people that make you avert your eyes and recoil every time you pass by. That being said, we are moving on to Should #2, which I think is a Should that gets overlooked fairly often.
You should review your displayed photos periodically, the timeline being up to you- you’ve got to take periodic measure of your sentimental gallery wall or hopefully-not-too-cluttered table tops, and assess how you feel when you look at different photos. Is there any photographic evidence of relationships that have soured, gotten audited by maturity or been given the boot? Put them in a shoebox or whatever fits their Save/Toss assessment. Perhaps there are some photos you put out for one particular celebration in 2004, and you’ve never reconsidered those images since that time- reassess them. Images are feeding your eyeballs with little homeopathic-level doses of suggestion, and those suggestions are feeding your consciousness every single day you mosey past them with your Folgers and your Bluetooth. The imagery around you is seeping and creeping into your reality all of the time- make sure it only contains vibes of love, happiness, laughter, beauty, or even sadness, of just the sweet kind.
Regarding which people are eligible to be displayed, using your example, "ones you see frequently, or the ones you don’t see often?" I would actually love to create an irritating rule around that idea, which would go something like this:
“If I see you Thursday, I’ll have to remove your photo from my gallery wall- so let’s wait until two Fridays from now, because I loaned out my tall ladder and I’m not going to be able to remove your picture very easily if I saw you sooner- I’d love to keep you on the wall, so let’s make it for late next week.”
Why do we display photos? It's not just about paying homage to a distant relative you only see once a year or every ten in order to rank as a Certified Good Relative- no one is keeping score, and distant relatives can’t see their photo on your wall. Photos of deceased beloveds are best displayed in a memorial context. It's not only respectful, but also supportive from a feng shui perspective, if you have an area that acts as a kind of altar space in your home.
The way I think of personal photos around the house, is they should remind you of moments. Quite often, photos of people are not necessarily about the people- they are about the moments you spend with them. Or the moments you spent in a place, with them. In that spirit, I’m not a big fan of the posed photo- it's not a moment to remember. Unless the staging of the photo is absurd and so retro that it carries you back to that moment in 1985 your mother was spraying a stress-hose everyone, making sure everyone arrived at the oak tree at 5:00 PM SHARP “in red polos AND KHAKIS! NOT red polos AND JEANS DAMMIT!”
THAT would be a posed portrait worth displaying. But maybe not above your bed.
In summary: love the images; do a visual audit from your heart once a year to make sure you still feel good vibes from the photo; put the deceased in an honorable, alter-like position; moments eclipse frequency of face-time; and always display hilariously retro, posed pictures.
Aubrey Thorne is an interior designer, feng shui consultant, and astrologer in Los Angeles. She works with clients all over, both in-person and online. Feel free to contact Aubrey to ask a question or to schedule a consultation.