If there’s one thing nearly universal among women, I think it’s our love-hate relationship with the camera. We love having pictures of good times and good memories, love posting pictures on facebook and instagram, love making scrapbooks, smashbooks and photobooks….but we also (often) hate the moment someone points a camera at us and says, “Smile!”
The first thing that pops into most women’s heads (and a good number of men, you might be surprised to know) when someone announces they are taking a picture is the merciless self-inventory. I’m wearing a pony tail! I didn’t have time to put on eyeliner! I’m the only one who didn’t lose weight this year!
Listen, I hear you. I struggle with that, too. Why do you think I started volunteering to be the designated group photographer? I mean, I love photography, but it’s a heckuva good excuse to not need to be “picture-worthy” (though the truth is, we’re ALL picture-worthy, even if we don’t think we are).
My grandma was the same way for a number of years. She hated having her picture taken. If she knew there was a camera around, she would lickity-split it out of the room.
And now we can't take pictures with her anymore. I only have a few pictures with her in my possession, and the last thing on my mind is critiquing her appearance. These are treasures to me.
A few weeks ago I did a photography workshop for a few friends wanting to learn more about their cameras. I asked a new friend to come be our class model. What was the very first thing she said? Can you guess?
“I’m not photogenic.”
Let me tell you a secret – the vast majority of people do NOT think they are photogenic. Unless someone makes their living having their photo taken, or has developed their own default “pose” for party pics, I guarantee you that most everybody thinks they’re not photogenic.
Here’s another secret – I have very rarely met someone who was genuinely not photogenic. Honestly. Case in point:
Yeah, this girl thought she wasn’t photogenic! And I didn’t photoshop anything other than evening out the light and color because it was a super-sunny day and the colors got washed out.
We’re our own worst critics.
So, basically, get in the picture. In fact, get out from behind the camera, hand it to someone else and ask them to take a picture of you. Make memories. Make treasures. Make keepsakes. Even if you only ever print them out and put them in a shoebox in the closet.
Do it for your children, so they can see who you were before they came into existence. Do it for yourself, so that when you are old and gray and can’t visit with your friends anymore, you can at least revisit the great times you had together. Do it for your great-great-grandchildren, so they can see and know their heritage and your place in history.
They won’t see your imperfections. They’ll just see you.