How do we take a pictures of the soul?
Richard and I were having one of our many chats the other day and we were discussing the fact that I was having a selfie paddy because, I believe that I don’t photograph well and I really don’t understand what the magical secret to doing so is.
I’ve tried thinking happy thoughts, fake laughing, just before the photograph is snapped, pouting (this is not a good look for me…think of a duck doing fish impressions and you get the idea!) and nothing has made the slightest difference to the outcome.
Yet this isnt something I’ve been cursed with all of my life.
As a child I was cute, cheeky, you may say…practically adorable but then something happened around the age of 9, that caused my face and perhaps budding awkward attitude, to become smushed together into a shape that simply, rejects the camera lens.
I can honestly say that approximately 9 out of the 10 photos, that I have had taken of myself, are terrible!
Seriously…this isn’t just a case of compliment hunting or some crazy ass body dysmorphia going on. Even Richard has been caught out by my ninja ability, to photographically repel the lens.
We happened to be on our family holiday and Richard decided to ‘capture the precious family moment’ and stopped to take a picture of me and the kids. I smiled, the kids smiled…happy family photo…click…Richard looks down at the captured image on the camera, looks back up at me and then does another double take between me and the photo. “What’s wrong?” I innocently ask,
“I don’t get it?” He replies,
“What?” I enquire again,
He continues to look between me and the image displayed on his screen.
“I can see you there and yet when I look at you on here…you don’t look like you at all. You look as though you’ve gained half a stone, your legs have shrunk and you have some weird expression on your face
that really isn’t you and I don’t get it…”
Ahhh the curse of being un-photogenic.
I’m sure there must be a genuine aspect of hyper, self criticism going on and I’m not entirely hideous but seriously it doesn’t explain the whole picture.
What I want to know is… when I look in the mirror every morning, pamper, preen and meticulously sculpture my image, eventually reaching, a sufficient level of satisfaction within my appearance…why is it, that the moment I step away from the glass and attempt to then take a selfie or capture a decent photo of me through someone else’s lense…the image being immediatly reflected back to me…just doesn’t match, in fact it’s distinctly mind boggling!!!
We may as well be two separate people…in identical twins, one of which happens to be a hobo with 3 double chins!
Okay…that was harsh…it’s not that bad…I’m not medusa or anything…I only have 1 chin really…2 if its a particularly unfortunate angle but it emphasises my point.
Yes I know there is the mirror image, phenomenon to consider.
The aspect of my brain that’s simply become used to seeing my daily image, as a back-to-front reflection of my actual reality image but even then… how come some people out there can appear fresh, inspired and real on the screen and others as though they are about to undergo a root canal or colonic irrigation?
Why is that? What’s their secret and what makes me incapable of taking a good photograph?
I may not be made of super star qualities but I wasn’t dropped on my face either (actually that’s not entirely true, I have fallen on my face…a lot but I’m sure that’s not it???😳🙈🤪).
Lighting seems to play an important part. Lights, shadows, facial contours and highlights all seem to magically come together in some orchestrated balance. Showing the face off to its most neutral advantage point.
But what do you do if you haven’t got your own lighting crew and make up team waiting in the wings,to turn your selfies into a Chanel advert worthy of Kiera knightly?
And even if you did…would it be enough for Miss average Joe Bloggs?
Look at the adverts.
Yes, we can argue that the model has been meticulously made up, lighted correctly and then airbrushed into the perfect Madonna, for us mere mortals to pedestal, worship and envy but actually I do wonder if there maybe more to it, than even that.
When an advert is created.
Not only is designed as a great picture with a provocative model/actress in the front…it is also tell the viewer a story and more secretly/ powerfully than that…the image itself (when wrapped up with an emotional bow) goes straight in, to speak directly to our inner psyche, becoming recognised by our constantly seeking (for life understanding )subconscious mind, and ends up as a symbol (A symbol upon which, we project all of our own secret desires, our needs, fears, hopes and wants for our super egos e.g; one day if I’m rich enough, lose enough weight, get the right partner, by that watch or smell like her, I’ll get/achieve…))and the advert has been created to do exactly that! Too become our secret romantic story, plus happy ending, with pin point precision, in order to press your buttons and make you buy more stuff you don’t really want.
This is something I may struggle to achieve with my iPhone and a selfie stick.
Why is the format of advertising so powerful?
Because it tackles the true conduit of ur communication…the unspoken language.
In my hypnotherapy days, I used to always explain how, when we communicate with one another, only 10% was based upon actual words (I am sure it’s even less than that but I’m a bit out of the loop), the rest of our language falls into categories such as tone, rhythm and body language…but I believe there is even more to it than that.
I honestly believe that the human mind is actually capable of subconsciously reading the very essence (subtext) of people thoughts too.
I don’t mean precise content. Like, ‘I can see you are thinking of a giant rabbit, who’s name happens to be Harvey’ or anything like that but I do feel, that we read a certain amount of unspoken information, such as, ‘that person doesn’t like me, they are smiling at me but secretly she wants to trip me up and probably bitch about me, behind my back or ‘I think you’re worried about something’, ‘I don’t feel they are being a 100% honest with me right now’…and such.
Which I am sure, many may argue still comes under the headings of reading subtle, ‘body language’ but I’m not sure that I completely agree, that’s the full extent of it (to be explored later) and I feel that this ‘subconscious knowing’ this ‘hidden communication’ is a part of the information ‘magic’ we capture within our photos.
Historically, I have been incredibly self conscious when it came to my own appearance and over the years I have managed to make quite a bit of progress. Not only in coming to terms with how I look but also with embracing my own, honest, natural image and at times, even managing to celebrate it.
However, when it comes to Photos… I am still leagues away from any Zen like understanding, in fact, I find it frustrating and at times demoralising.
I cannot capture my natural expression, however much I try .
Perhaps, the clue is in the explanation…
Too much trying…and maybe that’s written all over my face.
“Please let me, not to have a double chin, god I hope this doesn’t show my wonky tooth, I look so fat from this angle, I wonder if this looks natural, I feel so uncomfortable…’ and all of that lovely inner angst and dialogue, which is then, probably, snapped away, to be forever locked upon the screen for everyone on Facebook to see and comment upon my agony.
I can acknowledge, I have a slightly quirky face, (someone once compared it to that of a Disney character…and I don’t mean the princesses) that genuinely seems to struggle, to settle naturally, upon a frozen, photo frame.
However there must be some improvement that could be made upon the awkward images that haunt my photo albums and I don’t mean doctoring it with snap chat.
Which brings me back to my opening question.
How do I capture my true self, my essence onto camera film?
Funnily, the aborigines and the ancient American Indians used to believe that taking a photograph, actually captured a fragment of a persons soul and condemned the individual to be forever bound to paper, incapable of moving on to the next life. Which personally I think sounds pretty horrific but I wonder if there is some spark of truth in that. Obviously not the bit about the soul being captured on paper forever, bound and doomed to be trapped on this plane, forever stuck inside someone’s filing cabinet, amongst the paper clips and half sucked polo mints…sort of thing but in the photos ability to actually capture an aspect of the subjects soul, reflecting it back into the world and if so…How do some manage to do that…how do I learn to do that?
How can I conjure up my essence, up and to the surface of my skin, expressions and general aura and hold it there for the world to be able to see?
For me to be able to see.
I accept that I may never, actually look like the perception i have of myself within my head but I would love to find a way of at least of capturing some of my personality into a single, frozen moment.
How is it some people can appear so natural and vibrant upon a picture and I still don’t mean on the Snap chat selfies. It’s sad because I feels as though, we are trying so hard to fool the world into thinking we look a particular, generic way…that these weird ‘app’ version of ourselves are som how more beautiful than our reality. That somehow, having giant, cartoon eyes, smooth faces and bunny rabbit ears, is in fact, indeed the perfect, airbrushed version of ourselves…(I never realised…maybe this one, is on Disney???) That with some crazy, quiet hope, we pray that we may have finally found our true self and it’s finally being projected back and onto the screen. (As I re read this and edit it, it occurs to me that maybe we are actually just trying to become the least inoffensive we can. Blur the lines, remove all of our wonderful colours and become 2d like a flawless cartoon. I used to hope that I would grow up to look like Jessica rabbit…that clearly didn’t happen…not only was a destined to be a forever brunette but I never mastered the pout and my boobs just never grew big enough ☹️🤪😂🤣).
Recently I have found myself guilty of doing it…’app-ing’ myself into a new, improved and equally flawless version of myself.
So I stumbled across a Facebook app the other day, that transformed not only my hair colour but also airbrushed away the circles under my eyes, plumped up my lips and highlighted my lashes in such a dramatic way that for the first time ever, I was able to look at the image and finally say the words,…Wow…I look beautiful…’ Which in turn triggered off a new train of thought…what do I need to do, to start looking more like that person, I see on there than the one who looks back in the mirror.
I since went on to book myself in to get my hair dyed, purchased a shed load of beauty products to shade, highlight, reflect, contour and smooth my skin, watched countless YouTube videos on ‘face contouring’…in some vain hope that I may find the key to recreate the image on the screen in front of me and in doing so, I believed I would finally have become beautiful. ❤️
Oh my god…I fell for it…idiot…😳🙁🤪
(I’ve put down writing this post for a minute and walked away to have a think about it all…back in a jiffy)
It’s now 4 days later…
It’s strange, it’s as if this exploration process has since triggered off some kind of crazy, self realisation for me. I have spent a life time, trying to lose weight. I’ve always been a size 12-14 and I believed that this stopped me from reaching the goal of ever being considered beautiful by my peers, the outside world and most importantly…to myself.
I was kindly given the nickname ‘Walls sausages’ at school, on the account of my legs, being considered fat and sausage like, by the kind, worldly boys in the playground… I told myself, over the years, that one day, with hard work, good eating and exercise, I would look back, into the mirror and the image looking back at me, may finally resemble a swim suit model…I would get my bay watch moment…background music and slow mo included, the Barbie doll look alike, I always made believed I could be I was 8 years old…I dreamt big) and I would finally feel what it was like to be truly beautiful.
I never liked the gym and too much exercise left me feeling dreadful (obviously I now know why that was and have since embarked on more suitable, Horizontal cardio)
Strangely though and probably the subconscious reason this post has popped up in the first place, is I’ve embarked upon a Keto diet (actually to try and stabilise my blood sugar and improve my health a bit and not (ironically) for its weight loss, although I won’t fib…that has been a lovely perk)) and over the past 6 weeks, I have finally started to shift my weight.
So the other morning, I wake up excited, feeling my ribs starting to take shape under my skin and like a kid at Christmas…I rush to the mirror to check out and admire my new, baywatch skinny body and shock horror…it was still just me…yes, a little smaller…but also a little saggier (sorry for the over share) and not at all like the women in the magazines or on face book ads…(I’ve been doing my squats in the shower dam it!!!) and worst still when I look up at my face…I’ve also, now become old!!!
Ahhhg…I’m too late!
The image, I have tormented myself with and held up on a pedastool for glory…for the past 30 years!!!!!!! Damn it…no longer bloody fits…(I wonder if David Hasselhoff ever feels this way??)
All this time I have put off feeling happy within my body and my face. I have told myself that I have no right to consider myself attractive, until I fulfilled this ‘conventional’ yet apparently impossible, to do list first and it’s bollocks…sorry but it is.
Everything I am learning about true beauty, has incredibly very little to do with actual looks. They provide a start point but even looks themselves are subjective…I have a wonky tooth…I truly hate it and when I have saved up enough pennies (that hasn’t had to go on my babies or household stuff or something else out of the endless list of domestic demands), I have always planned to frog March off to the Dentist and do something about it.
Richard (weirdo that he is…💕) loves my wonky tooth. For him it’s endearing and something he honestly perceives as being beautiful…who’d have thunk it?? He says he has always thought of me as beautiful, otherwise he would not have married me and the same must be said for everyone.
Everyone is beautiful to someone…you are beautiful to someone.
You could even choose, if you wanted to actually be perceived as beautiful to yourself…right now, without needing to invest in all the creams, make up and highlighting kits.
I guess what I am trying to tell myself is…beauty is subjective and also it is constantly on the move.
When I wake up first thing in the morning, I don’t take my mor I guess breath, bed hair and dribble encrusted face to the mirror and say, ‘morning beautiful!’ (Richard does…bless him) but I can’t pretend that I feel that way about myself then. But when I’m being held, or I’m laughing with my friends or staring at the sea, I can feel it. Beauty is a state of mind and if I rely upon everyone else’s opinions to define that in me, then I will never be satisfied. I will never be beautiful to everyone, as everyone is uniquely different in their own definitions of beautiful.
There is a reason why the confectioners make different types of chocolates, sweets and lollies. One mans Cadbury’s, cream egg, is another mans Haribo, squishy fried egg. What can I say…the human race is quirky.
So yes you may feel the need to airbrush your features and create a rabbit out of your face, with big google eyes and love hearts coming out of your ears and I’m sure if you post it on Facebook, loads of people will feed the empty ness inside with words of beautiful, stunning, your soo cute…and you may feel better in your skin for a moment but you will never feel satisfied for long on it, because A) it’s not real and B) it’s basing your own value upon everyone else’s continuing, changing opinions. That’s why the air brushing is so effective, it makes our appearances more generic. We all end up looking the same and mirroring the fashions of the characters ofTowie, hoping that maybe that general look, )giant eyebrows, Botox lips and mascara) is what is considered beautiful this week.
Beauty and attraction goes way beyond the porcelain of our skin and yet we invest so much of our self worth into it.
I have spent a lifetime chasing beauty only to discover I’ve have had my own brand of it all along and what I believe is sad, is that I have spent so many tears, exchanged abusive words and even at times, hidden myself away because I was too repulsed by how I believe I looked, carrying around my own pocket full of shame rocks and all that time I was actually carrying around diamonds, I just didn’t know my worth.
I started this post because I was feeling frustrated that I never believed I could be perceived as beautiful in a photo and sadly I do think, I maybe doomed to a lifetime of dodgy pictures but so is everyone else. We only see on Facebook the pictures others have selected and chosen to see…which are usually the best ones, (unless they’ve been posted by your nasty friends who don’t mind sharing your double chins with the world…although I discussed this theory with Richard and we decided that the reason your friends put up you terrible photos, is often because hey don’t believe them to be terrible, they just see you…the whole picture…not the finite detail we have trained ourselves to look for with CSI precision).
Maybe if I hold on to my self believe that I am worth while and possibly even my own unique brand of beauty, I will finally manage to lift my light up high.
Perhaps then I may discover the secret and my true beauty will shine up through my face (free of self doubt and fear) and I will one day capture my real self ontk a photograph.
Otherwise I could get extremely drunk, take a load of selfies and with my alcohol infused blurred vision…celebrate myself anyway!!! Hahahaha xxx
It’s a long journey ahead and I cannot pretend I even know, exactly which direction I’m going in but I promise me, that I will keep chunking along and maybe, just maybe, I will understand how to be peaceful and happy, by simply allowing myself to be me 😊❤️
Maybe it’s simple authenticity.