According to cultural norms of our time and symmetry of features (with the exception of a lazy eye and scoliosis) I’m not unattractive but the camera doesn’t love me.
I like taking photos and I am not averse to having my photo taken but still the camera doesn’t love me.
I like and/or love the people I am with when I’m having my photo taken but still the camera doesn’t love me.
The camera doesn’t love me for two main reasons:
I can’t invent an expression that does not match what is happening. I’m about to have my photo taken, I’m looking at a camera. How do you smile at equipment for the sake of a smile? Who invented smiling for cameras anyway, it didn’t start out that way.
and I can’t hide an expression that matches what I am doing then and there.
I am rarely aware of unintentional messages my body language is sending to people (one of my autistic traits) but I thought this photo might convey a subconscious message to the camera from me.
However, for those of you who are not photo savvy, here are three tips that I’ve only just learned that seem to be culturally appropriate for a good group photo in Australia these days:
- If you have trouble holding a smile, convince yourself that what everyone is saying is ten times as funny (fortunately for me someone somewhere is usually making a joke or a smart aleck remark about something) but only just before the photographer is about to take the photo otherwise they will catch the ‘sigh’ afterwards instead.
- Lean in towards everyone, actually ‘snuggle in’. This makes it look like you are part of a cohesive group (the literal helps the figurative). However if you can’t hold a comfortable expression when your personal space is massively invaded that tip may not be for you.
- Turning your body slightly toward the centre of the group (if you are in the centre, pretend that you are not) and if you are a women put one foot in front of the other (or at least don’t stand with your feet too far apart and pointing in different directions).
Before (I’m at the front, in the trousers)
After (second from the left)
I’m sure many people could give you better advice about how to pose for a photo but they may also take it a little too seriously causing you to develop body image issues. The gamut of advice could range from tips on makeup, hair, fashion and body position to accentuate certain aspects of your appearance and hide others (causing you to feel somewhat ashamed of the parts you are advised to hide).
I’m afraid to say that I finally became aware of and succumbed to this ‘accentuate and hide’ idea recently (typically I was not subtle about it). I apologize to humanity for doing it and as part of my apology I have also included a photo of me before I undermined myself.
The camera might not love me but my husband does, my sons do and so do many others. It’s not just certain parts of me that they love, they love all of me ‘inside and out’ and besides my occasional body image hiccups so do I.