Sometimes you just have to write…
When I look in the mirror, I’m okay with what I see. Given my age and how much (too much!) sun I got as a kid, I don’t look too bad. But when anyone takes a picture, somehow it always comes out completely different.
And not only that, I have an uncanny gift for blinking or looking plain weird just as the picture is taken (as in this photo to the left). Thank goodness for digital photography, or the only pictures of me in existence would be with my eyes closed.
If I smile for a photo, it looks terrible. Maybe my smile really looks like that, but it looks to me like a rather painful big grimace. Posed smiles generally look fake anyway, don’t they?
And then there’s my body. I won’t make this a whole post about my issues with body image, but let’s just say I’d much rather see a picture of just my face and shoulders than my whole body. The curse of digital photography is that I don’t know what the photographer (my husband, for the most part, at the moment) is taking a picture of. From the same distance he can do a portrait or a whole-body shot.
I’ve taken quite a few pictures of my niece and son lately, and my niece in particular reminded me yesterday that other people might have similar issues. I was showing her some of the pictures in my phone. She took the phone from me to look through them and, before I knew it, she’d erased a bunch of the pictures of her. Granted, some of them weren’t particularly good shots, but some of them, in my opinion, were.
My son takes a more immediately oppositional approach. Either he pulls a face – rolling his eyes or just scowling – or he turns away just as I snap the picture. I end up deleting lots of pictures of just his hair.
I even resorted to blackmailing him recently. I took a picture of him sleeping in the car. Then I told him I’d delete it if he’d let me take a good picture of him. If not, I’d post the sleeping picture on Facebook. He knew I wouldn’t really do it, but he relented; I got some good photos of him.
I watched other people posing for pictures yesterday and noticed similar issues. In the chateau we were visiting, there was a chair set up to look like a throne that we were allowed to pose in, so many visitors were doing just that.
I’ve noticed on our travels that different people have different ways of posing. Some seem to have a requirement to take a picture in front of every single sight. And those pictures look terribly posed: the person stands there, unsmiling, visibly uncomfortable, stiffly waiting for it to be over. Once the picture’s taken, they switch places so the photographer poses now, and the subject becomes the photographer, and they do it again. Then, in front of the next view / statue / picture / house / whatever: same routine.
I’ve always wondered what their photo albums must look like: pages and pages of photos of sights, each with the same person standing just beside them.
And some people, while they pose for these endless photos, hold up two fingers in a victory sign. Victory over what?
Children – boys, mostly – sometimes make a sign with their elbow jutting out to the side, fist closed and held sideways in front of their body, the thumb and pinky sticking out. I have no idea what that’s supposed to mean.
My husband, meanwhile, does everything he can not to take posed pictures of any sort. What that means is that I never know when I’m going to turn around and he’s going to snap a picture of me. These candid shots are meant to be better, but they never are. Look at the first picture in this post for an example of one of his candids: my eyes are open, for a change, but we were in a very windy spot on the coast in Guernsey, so, well, you can see for yourself what it was doing with my hair. And the sun was behind my husband, so I was squinting as well, and busy telling him not to take a picture of me…
How do you pose for pictures? Do you like the results?