Chattering Mind

Chattering Mind


We Are Not Our Photographs

posted by chattering mind

I noticed something painful this vacation, and that is, I don’t enjoy seeing myself in family photographs these days. We’re all getting older, right? And digital photography allows us to see ourselves immediately after a photo is taken. “Ahhhh…better delete that one. That’s terrible of me,” I found myself saying, leaning over Mr. Chattering’s shoulder as I regarded myself in the digital camera’s tiny screen. “Oh gosh, I look awful in that one too. Delete that.”

Can you believe me? As a reporter covering politicians and self-conscious society people many years ago, I learned that WE ARE NOT OUR PHOTOGRAPHS. But when the photograph is of you, this lesson is easy to forget.

For example, I once had the good fortune to be seated next to the wife of a cabinet official at a fashionable luncheon in Washington D.C. This attractive businesswoman was putting some pizazz into the Washington party scene at the time, but as I sat in such intimate proximity–close enough to visually scan her jaw and ear in search of her plastic surgery scars–I could see that she’d rigged her face with the help of her doctors to photograph well, but that she in fact, in real life, looked strangely exaggerated. Big jaw. Cheekbones like the Blue Ridge Mountains. You would not have wanted to look like this woman really, and yet, day after day, the same face photographed beautifully for the society pages. Apparently–can I really dish?–fab Kabbalist Madonna is a tad this way too, or so says an art director I know who once had lunch with her: She doesn’t telegraph stunning beauty in person, yet she “comes up” well on film.

So I’m trying to stay calm as I see myself photographing less well than I think I look. I know a lot of women freak out when they see photographs of themselves, and even seek the surgeon’s knife to quickly fix the face that produced any unflattering photo images, instead of believing that they are not precisely what their photographs reveal.

It’s my hope that continued healthy living will help me look my natural best, no matter my age. More rigorous aerobic exercise wouldn’t hurt me either. We are not our perceptions; we are not our chattering thoughts. So today, as the family vacation photos are printed, my mantra will be: “I am not my photographs.” The Sufi teacher Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan used to say: “If you could see yourself through God’s eyes, you wouldn’t believe how beautiful you are!”



Advertisement
Comments read comments(5)
post a comment
Gina

posted June 21, 2006 at 10:35 pm


this really makes sense, b/c often you see a model in pictures and she’s perfect (well, even with out the airbrushing), but then if you ran into her on the street or even just seeing her on t.v. (which is vastly different b/c the images now show many different angles on the screen) you then “this is a model? she’s so odd looking!”>



report abuse
 

Walt T.

posted June 23, 2006 at 2:10 am


I paraphrase Immanuel Kant (I think). ‘We know nothing about the world but what we percieve through our senses.’ That is, we only know what we see with our eyes, hear with our ears, feel with our touch, smell with our noses, taste with our tongue, but these may not give us truly what is real. So the camera that is suppose to be an extension of our eyes doesn’t ‘see’ with the same resolution, field of view, color rendition, … so only gives another perspective not necessarily the ‘truth’. To really know someone we need all of the sensory input as well as the time necessary to interact with them intellectually and spritually to get the whole ‘picture’.>



report abuse
 

peggy

posted June 23, 2006 at 5:26 pm


Thank you! I have never seen a picture of me that I liked but I will probably think differently of them now!>



report abuse
 

Debra Kaiser

posted June 23, 2006 at 7:12 pm


i hate my pictures so much! Thank You for showing me that those “ugly pics” of me don’t count! Love, thebee/deb>



report abuse
 

eastcoastlady

posted June 28, 2006 at 2:31 pm


You can’t believe how often I cringe at photos of myself. When I look in the mirror, it’s not all that atrocious, yet in pics, I literally cringe. What a shame I want to delete those pics, too, and what I’m thinking when I see them. Instead of remmebering the wonderful time taking place when the photo was taken, my thoughts are something to the effect of, “MAN I look awful!” *sigh*>



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

More blogs to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Chattering Mind. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here is another blog you may also enjoy: Inspiration Report Happy Reading!!!  

posted 9:09:39am Jul. 10, 2012 | read full post »

CM's Final Posts: You Can Fill the Space
Eighteen years ago, I wrote an article for a magazine that got me called in for a taped interview with a Fox TV morning news anchor. Being an effective communicator and a skillful public speaker was a dream of mine at the time. And still is. After some 30 minutes of prep with the station's hair-and-

posted 3:14:59pm Jul. 27, 2007 | read full post »

Websites to Visit, Blogs to Read
Here are some blogs and websites I like. It's not a complete list. But it's a start. The first is called New Moon Journal and it is written by Michele Bailey-Lessirard, a life coach, collage artist, and "shamanic astrologer." On the opening page of her site, you'll find a little slide show of her am

posted 1:24:03pm Jul. 27, 2007 | read full post »

Still Posted at My Desk
"Take off from here. And don't be so earnest, let others wear the sackcloth and the ashes. Let go, let fly, forget. You've listened long enough. Now strike your note." From "Station Island," by Seamus Heaney

posted 1:13:33pm Jul. 27, 2007 | read full post »

And Finally, This:
Place your burden at the feet of the Lord of the Universe who accomplishes everything. Remain all the time steadfast in the heart, in the Transcendental Absolute. God knows the past, present and future. He will determine the future for you and accomplish the work. What is to be done will be done at

posted 11:30:38am Jul. 27, 2007 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.