“Treat your friends as you do your best pictures, and place them in their best light.” ~ Lady Randolph Churchill
People say millennials have created a narcissistic society. Queens and kings of the social media, and selfies. We are the epitome of being into ourselves.
I don’t really have an opinion on it one way or the other of whether we are, but as someone who grew up on Myspace (I know I am dating myself, again!) and other platforms, up until a couple years ago, you would be hard pressed to find a picture of me.
And if you did, I would ask you to burn it nicely please.
I know it seems shocking, especially now.
As a member of a family of self professed photographers – even my brothers in laws commented on his multiple thousands of picture takings when they were in Ireland – who love to take oh so very flattering shots, I cringed, fled, and constantly had the hand in front of my face to hide it.
Ugly. Fat. Pimply. Wrong clothes. Bad hair. Those were some of the constant degrading excuses of why I hated having my picture taken, running through my head. Of course I never verbalized it aloud, usually I just joked covering my face with hands or any object big enough to shield my face from the lense. Knowing I was coming across as a petulant hormonal teenager, rather then the deeply insecure, hated my own skin, girl I was.
Looking at my Facebook, their are few and far between of pictures from the time I joined until I moved to New York. I was on Instagram for over a year before I started posting and it was two years, before it was consistent.
I hated pictures. I knew they would not suck my soul like some cultures believed. Quite the opposite. I was sure all my insecurities thoughts and self loathings would show through like a bill board. Flashing on full display for all to see. So I ran. I hid. I avoided. I was the queen of excuses.
I would offer to take the picture. It was at this time my sense of design and creativity planted their seeds. Moving people this way and that. Preferring to be behind the scenes rather then in front.
You would think New York would make a person even more insecure, with supermodels and actresses in as much demand as the Duane Reades are.
In fact it was when my confidence began to be cultivated.
I started to find my own style. To strut my curves. To own who I was. And in doing so I decided to show the world that.
I admit it was scary at first. Like the anonymous people you walk past on a daily bases on the street, the internet is like that as well. Anonymous. Their comments can not hurt you. Yes their can be bullies, but as someone who knows first hand, that is THEIR issue not mine.
I began to see the beauty in a photograph. I began to see my own worth.
Yes, there are many times I hate the pictures that are taken of me still. I might like one out of a hundred, which is why I am the queen of taking thousands. Your memory on your phones is warned. Despite that, I have learned to let go of my mental and emotional restraints. Of accepting me for everything I am. As John Legend says “Your curves and all your inhibitions.”
We all have our insecurities, but you can not let that stop you from living. I have faced my fear of the photograph and it has given me a grace and inner beauty I am able to channel.
That is the power of a photograph. Not the rolls or double chins. The weird expressions or unglamorous moments. The freeness to have fun. To let yourself be you and to shine. That is what the camera captures. It does capture the soul and there in lies the true inner beauty.