Archives for posts with tag: “photo phobia”

The Great Selfie Project of 2014  https://thatdifficultstage.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=2235&action=edit has been over for quite some time. Turns out, I’m just not that into me. I tried to stick with it, but not that hard, and not that long. The biggest problem seemed to be that I would get busy during the day, and then remember right before bed that I had not taken my picture for the day. The result: a series of shots of me, at my lowest point of the day, in the same spot on the couch. Bo-ring, not to mention demoralizing.

Despite my initial disappointment at failing to sustain the challenge I set for myself,  I am considering the project a success in one significant way: I have desensitized myself to the photo taking process, if for no other reason than it is truly no big deal. In the words of Bill Murray in Meatballs: “It just doesn’t matter.” Nobody in the world is going to look at any picture of me with the same intense scrutiny that I do. So what if I’m not photogenic? I live my life in three dimensions, not two, and I spend  the better (in all senses) part of my time looking at others, not me.  I’ve also managed to memorialize a few Good Hair Days, so that is another win.

And really, if I were to get hit by a bus tomorrow, I would want whoever found my phone to see images of people, pets, and places I love, not an endless parade of me. Wait, that’s what I would rather look at too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I do not photograph well. This is not false modesty. I am reasonably happy with my looks. There is just something about having my picture taken that feels like torture, and it shows in the finished product. I look awkward and self-conscious, every time.

This was not always the case. I have pictures of myself as a young child, and that girl is smiling, wide open to the world. Pardon me for saying that I was adorable then. Back when I had my baby teeth.

Then I hit the stage of teeth too big for my face, compounded by the fact that curly hair was not in style at the moment. Between trying to hide the teeth and contain the hair, I lost the joy of hamming it up for the camera.

Photography used to be more of an investment, when pictures required film and processing. There was more pressure to look good. I knew the silent reproach of a drawer full of school photos, unworthy of sharing or trading. Just stacks of little rectangles on a page, all big teeth, lumpy hair, and eyes pleading for approval.

Over the years, I have seen a few good photos of myself, mainly taken when I was completely unaware of the photographer, or when I was just too caught up in the fun of the moment to remember to worry. So I know I can take a decent picture, I just don’t feel I can.

Things might have been different for me if I’d had grown up with digital photography. Don’t like that snapshot? Delete and try again. And again. Hey wait, I can do that now. To overcome my “photo phobia” I have set a challenge for myself: at least one photo of myself daily, until I can get comfortable with the process and/or have a picture suitable for my LinkedIn profile.

It starts today. Cheese.

George Lakoff

George Lakoff has retired as Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley. He is now Director of the Center for the Neural Mind & Society (cnms.berkeley.edu).

Greggory Miller

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