Thursday, December 1, 2011

Picture Perfect

So when did we all become posers?

I think it has something to do with facebook. Do you remember the good old days when the only people who saw your pictures were your family or close friends? Or maybe if you had a really good photo op you could choose to share it with the public by one of those posterboad collages you did for school on your birthday. Now it seems anyone from our teachers, grandmothers, or dog walkers can see pictures from daily aspects of our lives and the pressure to uphold a (photogenic) image is getting harder and harder.

As kids we would stand awkwardly for the pictures. No cutesy curtsey or hands on hips take-on-the-world posture. We were lucky if we could all smile and/or look the same way.

Then again, look at these great poses! Maybe I am wrong.

I feel like kids now are always giving the camera some attitude. (I wish I had some examples but I don't feel comfortable posting other people's children's photos online for sexual predators to find.) Is this a new thing? Or did I just not notice when I was a kid (or know that I was supposed to be posing?).

Another example, a school dance picture. Today we would certainly be looking much hipper instead of like stiff, nervous teenagers--and I'm not just talking about our outfits. I would at least have one hip forward, feet crossed, or a hand on my hip.

Maybe I'm just clueless and the posing phenomenon has been here forever. But, here I am as recently as the few months directly after college graduation (which is actually getting much farther away than it seems should be possible). I'm obviously not trying to impress anyone except with the awesomeness of my surroundings. I was SCUBA diving every day for months in Central America, but you don't really pick up on that from my body language--maybe from my dreds and sunburn.

A few years later maybe you get a taste of it starting to happen. We're getting the hang of it more here:

I'm still not great at it, but I'm getting better.

Anyway, I guess my point is, suddenly people seem so much more aware of how they look in pictures. Instead of taking pictures for memories it seems as if we are always trying to impress those around us. We have become our own PR manager, sorting through unflattering ways of presenting ourselves to put out our best face, even when we are just having fun and trying to remember. I think this is fine and I do it myself to a point. It is also interesting to be on vacation or at an event and see everyone around you suddenly making like madonna and "striking a pose." So I know it's not just me.

***I wonder if this is just me: I get annoyed when I see pictures of beautiful people having great times with a disclaimer is about how awful they look (not to say I've never done this before). "I'm sorry my hair isn't absolutely perfect today and that it is only as pretty as yours usually is, but please don't judge, just had to show off my pictures of me eating oatmeal this morning." Let's give ourselves (and each other a break). If it is something worth remembering, who cares how your hair looked (see above picture of me at the Bears game with less than ideal photographic evidence); and if it isn't such an interesting moment and you look so bad you have to apologize, don't post the picture. I don't need you to reassure me you only ate one of the tootsie rolls from the bag you are holding or that your flat iron broke or that you are prettier than I will ever be but you are having an insecure moment showing a picture of you looking like a catelog model instead of your usual Supermodel self. I probably didn't even notice. And funny, now I that you pointed it out, you may be right.

Anyway, I guess my point is, I think it would be nice if we could all just try leaving an unflattering picture of ourselves tagged on facebook. Without any apologies. Especially if it shows you being you and having a great time.

Erin and Rachel, hot and sweaty Malaysia 2006


nathan n rachel said...

Love the formal photo! Awesome!

Oriens said...

so loved seeing pictures of your past. You could have a blog series of "blast from the past."

But that is beside the point you are making. Sometimes at gatherings I feel like I need to take more pictures to have more pictures and not because I want to have a memory to match a picture.

Tawnya said...

you know erin, I agree! Thanks for the post. It has given me something to think about. Next time I blog, maybe I will post a really bad picture of me, though I don't know if I could ever outdo this one:

Camber said...

Just this very day I almost apologized about my appearance in a blog post picture, and THANK GOODNESS I didn't. I am not photogenic at all and I think it's because I'd rather be having fun than stopping to take a everyone else can know I was having fun. Loved the formal dance picture! It exudes "first date" awkwardness.

Erin said...

Tawnya, love the pic on your link. It made me laugh in side.

Amber said...

After I had my baby the PR people at the hospital asked if they could take photos of us for their marketing--think brochures, website, billboards. After coming close to death and then suffering through a slow recovery, I looked the worst I'd ever looked in my life. I reluctantly agreed and wished I could at least throw on some make up. At first I was embarrassed, but I realized that I gave 9 months, nearly gave up my life, and kissed a tight body goodbye for this sweet baby. I had the RIGHT to look awful--might as well have a professional document it for me. It was part of the proof of how much I loved that baby. Now I treasure those photos and am glad I didn't glam it all up to pretend like having that baby wasn't one of the biggest sacrifices I have ever made.

Erin said...

Amber, I loved your comment, I thought it was a beautiful sentiment! It was so sweet and an extreme example of the point I am trying to make, that maybe we should stop taking ourselves so seriously sometimes.