Until I became a portrait photographer, I felt like the above photograph about having my own photograph taken. I’d hide at least part of me behind something. This photo isn’t even of me. I’m comfortably in my favorite place, fully hidden behind the camera.
The idea of the whole me being out there mostly has always seemed like too much. Granted photographers often feel this way more than others. But I quickly learned , whether to a degree or to an extreme, most women feel this way – for good reason.
No those reasons aren’t because we are fat, ugly or old. Please know that these things are lies that we’ve been taught to be the primary touchstones of how we feel about ourselves. This is true even if we think we’ve felt them our whole lives. We tell ourselves these things when we fall anything short of what we personally, someone else, or society calls “perfect.”
We all too willingly call ourselves these awful things, that we wouldn’t dream of saying to even our worst enemy.
We don’t treat ourselves well at all.
Sure we might take one for the team and be photographed for the family Christmas card. Maybe our jobs require us to have a professional headshot taken. Our weddings are a whole other story I’ll write about someday.
We don’t want to see what we think we really look like. Not being photographed, lets us avoid looking too closely, albeit from our distorted point of view.
This is where I call BALONEY.
Rather this is where the old phrase, “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder,” comes into play.
Unless you are a model or on television, most photographers in the world whose work we see in magazines don’t care about what you look like. The commercial and editorial worlds seek out those matching current traditional beauty norms to photograph. The irony is they spend hours, seeking out angles, constructing flattering lighting schemes and poses, and yes – Photoshopping — for those women who least “need” it.
On the other hand, us “regular” women are most often found in photographs in our roles of “mother” “spouse” or “employee.”
We are left in charge of our own curation.
So we suck in our stomachs, hold our breath, and say a prayer.
But there are other photographers around who care a great deal about what you look like. Who will give you the time and attention you deserve and need to have flattering photographs taken of you.
Hey there, beautiful.
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