Looking at the Camera
When I was a child I loved to have my picture taken. I always smiled at the camera, despite the less than optimal objects on my face. My parents tormented me with braces and glasses all on the same day, this way I only had to miss one day of school back in the 4th grade. I smiled right through those awkward years. One of the workers on my dad’s construction jobs, Artie the bulldozer man, used to call me smiley, and I would blush all colors of pink and red when he called me that.
As I reflect on this picture, which like all photographs, catches only a brief moment in time, I noticed that I looked at the camera, one brother took a glance and the other was focused on the road-side goat and not concerned about the camera at all. Probably this picture says a lot more, but I think it captured the three of us fairly accurately.
This picture was taken during one of our many road trips in Norway during the summer of 1974. I was almost 10 years old. I’m not sure if my dad called us to look at the camera when he took this picture, probably not since he had a good eye for photography as my daughter Sarah recently pointed out. I bet he was going for the random shot, but I had to turn my head towards the camera.
Now, fast forward into adult years. At what point do we change from either wanting to be photographed or not caring if are photographed to being somewhat uncomfortable being captured in a picture? I wore John Denver glasses (wire aviator or hexagon shape), full set of wire braces (probably wouldn’t make it through the metal detector now) middle-part, long straggly hair (at times a knot in the nape of my neck) and I had the confidence to always smile at the camera. I was me and that was just fine. What happened to us? Why do we lose the confidence or have inhibition to smile at the camera?
Society definitely has an influence. We are bombarded by messages that tell us you’re not pretty enough or even more subtle than that, you’re not perfect. Even if our kids (present day) are comfortable behind the camera, they take tons of pictures, but only “post” the ones that make them look the best. We didn’t have that “luxury” and yet, most of us as children, smiled with out any prompting and certainly no ability to delete, delete. I suppose we knew our pictures were for our own viewing, not posted all over media, but that’s really not the point.
Well, I’m far from perfect but I think it’s time that we all get back to how we felt when we were kids. Free and happy with who were. Sometimes we were shy and felt like we didn’t know how to smile, (I can remember one of my brothers saying that, funny right?) but we usually tried and smiled anyway.
We need to accept ourselves as we are and if there are areas that need a little tweaking, maybe it’s worthwhile making some accommodations, if it actually improves our health and well-being. We are all unique and wonderfully made. We have flaws, but so what! Who we are on the inside will reflect through the photo if we allow ourselves to actually like ourselves. You are awesome, no doubt about it!!
Next time, smile for the camera and allow what’s truly unique about you shine through, even with the “flaws”. I’m certain others see you in a different light, so don’t deprive them of seeing a smiling you!! 😉😊