Self Esteem and the Photograph

11 Feb

“Oh my gosh, did you just take my picture?? Noooo! Delete it, delete it!!”

This is usually the reaction that  I get from my mother whenever I snap her photo… or try to.

It never fails that she doesn’t want a photo. She hates seeing herself in them.

My mother at Thanksgiving, by me.

As someone who has grimaced at a bad photo and then been unable to shake the image, I often think about how my photos will affect others. I find myself worrying that they’ll see my photo of them and will be upset at their image.I would never in a million years want to cause them harm because of my photograph.

In the digital age, we are able to almost exclusively eradicate any unpleasant images of ourselves we find. We can almost portray the image that we are flawless and perfect. We can photoshop off that zit or totally remove those pesky red eyes. photo from Souvenirs, photographer unknown.

But what happens when we finally do see a photograph of ourselves where we have one eye closed, look “fat”, or overall just hate it? Are we startled to finally see an unflattering image of ourselves? Heather Locklear by

I’ve seen many a photo of me that I’ve hated. I know the doubt it can cause in one’s mind. Suddenly this image of yourself you have in your mind is shattered. At times, I can’t rebound back from it as I should. I feel like I see that among other celebrities too. They see these paparazzi shots of themselves and the next thing you know, they’ve dropped 80 pounds.

Kristin Cavallari, reality tv star

So overall, I often fear the consequences my photographs could possibly have on the ones that I love. I even fear what it could do to people I don’t know. I suppose I have to let the responsibility of that person’s self esteem lie with them, not me. I can only document what I see. I just hope that I am never the reason that someone gets hurt or gets sick. I’ve been there and would never want that for others.  Afterall….we all take bad pictures sometimes! 🙂

2 Responses to “Self Esteem and the Photograph”

  1. carolynrumsey February 17, 2010 at 10:39 pm #

    I like this blog post. It’s so true. We are our own worst critics. Maybe it’s a mom thing… mine is the same way. And I’m not just saying this but I happen to think you are quite photogenic.

  2. mcgill March 17, 2010 at 9:29 pm #

    I hear where you’re coming from. These are profound thoughts. But I don’t think you need to be too worried about hurting people with your images. You’re a sensitive person, right? So trust that part of yourself.

    For me, I consider that the best present I can give someone I love, is to take a good photo of them. Just look at the photos you have of the women in your life who passed on. You treasure those photos YEARS after they were taken! So do the same for the people you care about now. Make the image that will live on in your family’s minds.

    I LOVE to take a photo that captures a person’s essence, and when they see it, they light up. I love to show my girlfriends how beautiful they are to me. Think of your images as a blessing, as something you do for a person, instead of something you take from them. It might alter your perspective.

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