Sham of the Perfect is a collaborative photography project made up of an international collection of photographers who are passionate about both family documentary photography and being parents.  The project's name is inspired by the poem A Spring Issue, by Sarah Dunning Park. Our intent is to tear down the sham of perfection shown in more idyllic work and present life, parenthood, families, childhood, and home as it actually is; full of flaws and full of beauty simultaneously.

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.

By Sarah Dunning Park

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