Pursuit of the perfect picture

0 Flares Filament.io Made with Flare More Info'> 0 Flares ×

Like so many women (and a few men, too), I don’t like getting my picture made. It’s ironic, too, because I love photography and the way pictures tell a story or capture a mood.

So I’ve been asking myself lately why I, along with so many other camera-shy people, sprint from the room anytime a lens gets pointed in my direction. I think I’ve figured it out.

We all think we know how we look as we go about our daily lives. But we’re wrong.

Inside my head, I have a picture of what I think I look like. But then I see my photograph and realize how far off my mental picture is from the real thing. That’s the problem with mental pictures – they’re always younger, thinner and better-looking, so it’s hard to measure up. I’m guessing we must snap that mental photo when we’re about 22-years-old, when gravity is still on our side and the bloom of youth is fresh on our faces.

I’m not deluded enough to have a snapshot of Heidi Klum running around in my head. But every time I see my photo, my first thought is “Do I really look like that? Gah!”

Part of the problem is how I ALWAYS over think it. In the seconds before the camera flash goes off, here’s what goes through my mind:

“Okay, now just smile and look natural. But don’t smile too much because then your upper lip disappears. Remember to open your eyes wider so you won’t look sleepy. But not too wide because then you’ll just look surprised or strung out on caffeine. I’ll turn my head to the side so it won’t look like a mug shot of Gary Busey. Is my shirt wrinkled? Because if it’s wrinkled it’s going to end up looking like a fat roll whether it is or not. Oh, that reminds me to suck it in. Keep sucking it in! But how can I smile naturally if I’m not breathing? I’m running out of air! Take the freaking picture already!”


Is it any wonder my photos look a little strained?

Fortunately, there are rare times when the stars line up just right, the lighting is good and the camera angle is kind. When you luck upon a good photo of yourself, you cherish it. It becomes your “go to” photo anytime you need one. It’s the one you use on Facebook, the one on your Christmas card, the only one in your house you consider frame-worthy.

What I’ve been realizing lately, however, is that I need to let go of that mental picture, accept the real evidence and learn to appreciate it – on good days and bad. Women and no photo availablemothers tend to edit ourselves out of the family photo album. We throw out the photos where we look fat, the ones where our hair didn’t look right, the ones where we’re not smiling enough or smiling too much, the ones where we had on a weird shirt, the ones where we weren’t wearing make-up – the reasons go on and on. Some of us dodge the issue altogether by insisting on being the one behind the camera instead of letting someone else shoot us in action.

If we keep letting our inner critics weed through photos, we might end up with one or two pictures in the entire album. And years from now, our kids will wonder where in the heck we were all those years. They’ll have less to remember us by, and we will have robbed them of memories they deserve to keep.

# # #

0 Flares Facebook 0 Twitter 0 Pin It Share 0 Email -- Filament.io 0 Flares ×