This post is going to be all about self-image. Yours. Mine. Women’s perceptions of themselves. I’m not being sexist here, it’s just that I have no information on how self-image affects men. So, sorry guys, I’d still love to hear your views.
Okay, I’d like to start this discussion happening with an amazing video clip sent to me by the lovely Sallyanne Hartnell [neighbour, friend and photographer extraordinaire!]
For those of you who are in a hurry, here is a quick summary of the video. A police sketch artist does a series of portraits. All of his subjects are women, and he cannot see any of them. He sketches the subjects’ descriptions of themselves. Next he brings in another group of people who have all interacted with the first lot of subjects. Each person in this second group then describes one of the women. And the artist sketches their descriptions. Finally, we see the before and after sketches. Without fail, the faces described by strangers are softer, prettier, kinder. And yet both sketches are clearly of the same people!
Now, the reason Sallyanne sent me the link to that video was because we had had two, rather painful portrait sessions. Not her fault… mine, all mine.
I did try to relax in front of her camera. But I couldn’t [I am seriously camera phobic and always have been].
The photo on the left is not the worst one by a long shot – nobody gets to see those – but I still hate the expression on my face. I don’t know what expression I was trying to convey but it came out ugly, further reinforcing my camera phobia. And making me depressed for weeks. 😦
And then, a few days ago I came in from the garden all sweaty and manky and decided to play around with a self-portrait taken in the bathroom mirror.
I have no skills as a photographer, and it shows. Nonetheless, in this photo I’m relaxed and smiling at the cat rubbing up against my legs.
You can’t see Buffa, but you can see me smiling, and being myself. I hope this is the face that other people see, not the sour, I-really-don’t-want-to-be-here face in the first photo.
Faces are built to be animated and full of life. That’s why we can never truly see ourselves the way other people see us. Unfortunately, in this modern world of ours, image is everything, and we women are hung up on the imperfections of our faces and bodies. We don’t see the warmth and friendliness of our faces, but other people do… and that is what they respond to. Not the big nose, or pimples, or double chin. They respond to the person looking out of those eyes.
I’m 60, and you’d think I would have had plenty of time to learn that lesson, and yet I let myself become depressed over a bloody photo! I can honestly say this has not been my finest hour, but if it makes someone, somewhere reassess themselves – and gain some self confidence – then it will have been worth it.
I am still going to use this chibi as my persona pic wherever I can, but now it will be because I really like the image, and it fits Meeka, rather than because I’m terrified of showing a sour, unhappy face to the world. 😀
Cheers from a much happier Meeks!