Today, I am embarking on a short series that will be about photography, and why we don’t exist in photos. As a woman, I feel that most of us don’t exist in photos the way we would like, or for reasons we may not really be able to explain, or don’t want to explain. I am going to get vulnerable on you, open up about my reasons, and tell you what I have planned, to set an example for you.
First and foremost, my weight does not bother me. My double chin does not bother me. My close set eyes do not bother me. Being captured in a less than flattering pose, that bothers me. I have flaws, or rather, facts about myself that I don’t want accentuated, however, I would like specific things highlighted if I am being captured, none of which are the things I just listed. I believe we all want to look our best in photos, this is why most people will show you their “good side” when you ask them to pose for you. When we are taking quick snap shots, unless you spend time learning which poses work best for you, then you may end up looking less than your best, and maybe not even like the you that you feel you are. This recently happened to me, and it was in that moment I knew we needed to address this.
Secondly, mothers mainly are the family photographer, always capturing, never showing up in photos. When you couple being the family photographer with never being accentuated in a photograph, you will pass up every single opportunity to be captured and you will never exist in photos. You will become so adamant about not being in photographs that it will make you surly to the point of feeling violated if someone browbeats you in to being photographed, sorry to all of you I did this to. Mothers often put themselves on the back burner for their family, this is true, but more so, moms have a plan, and if you interrupt that plan to take a crap photo of them, they will definitely not be available for your snap the next time.
Amateurs: don’t browbeat people in to getting their photo taken, that is disrespecting their boundaries. Not everyone wants you to capture them with your camera just to prove they exist.
This bring us to a tertiary level, some people are so busy behind a camera that not being in the moment, but capturing the moment, is the more important place for them to be. Personally, I am a person that gets “in the zone” anytime I have a camera in hand. My mind is a constant state of shots, scenes, angles, lights…and sometimes just getting through the moment, such as a pre dance gathering where there are lots of people, lots of movement, and lots of chaos. The last thing I want in this moment is my picture taken, thank you very much. I am not here to be captured, but to do the capturing.
As a photographer, we are aiming to show the best version of our subject, something beautiful about our subject, maybe even something a bit hidden, but lovely, about our subject. This goes for all people, not just models. When you capture these aspects of others, there becomes a joy of existing in photos. Otherwise, people may shy away and refuse to have their photo taken. When I was more naive about taking others’ photos, I would browbeat people in to having their photo taken, for them, for their loved ones, to prove they did exist in life. I can honestly tell you, that was wrong of me, and I can now approach that in a different way, showing results that the hesitant subject not only wants to see, but wants to display for all to see, and maybe makes them want to exist in photos even more.
These photos of me are not something I want to frame and put on my walls. They are not photos I like to see of myself. Only one of these is preferred by me. I am not existing in the majority of these photos. I am doing something else, my focus and energy is not me being me in that moment, but either capturing others, or not being rude to others. This is not the existence I wish to show the world. So…
Where does this leave us? It leaves us in a place of importance, a good photo. Do you have a good photo of yourself? How many of you wish you had a good photo of yourself? How many of you try to not exist in photos, on purpose? How many of you hate having your photo taken? How many of you have a load of photos of you around your house? This last one was a trick, good for you people with loads of photos of you in your home, but this isn’t about you, it is for those that don’t exist in photographs. Don’t you all think it is time for you to exist in at least one good photo of yourself? I know I do, and that is what I will be showing you soon. A good photo of me. Maybe 5.