Thursday, November 15, 2012

Those Girls: Being Present in Photographs

No one (I mean no one!) likes to see a bad photograph of themselves. I won't try to argue that vanity is all bad, but I think we should take a more forgiving and less critical look at ourselves.

My crow's feet and nose wrinkles tell you I'm laughing for real.

My perspective today comes from being a mom to a two year old and 6 months pregnant with another, and at the same time feeling accountable to Assemble as being put-together and stylish. The mirror and camera are not my best friends these days. So where Andie wrote the other day about hiding within a photograph, I tend to hide from them all together.

I recently read this Huffington Post article by Allison Tate, which convinced me that being present in photographs is incredibly important, especially for new moms. Our families want to remember us as we were, including our imperfections. I want my little boys to see a loving mom, however disheveled and baggy-eyed, who was lost in the moment.


So what am I hiding from? Well, besides general (and totally normal) embarrassment over messy hair and unwanted arm flab, I am more shy about appearing less-than-beautiful publicly as I represent half of a business in which pretty-looking things do matter. It seems like everyone else's blog posts are filled with gorgeous, airy self-portraits, or as if all of our fellow friends have glowing skin and perfect hair. Do they have more hours in the day?

So how can one person juggle both the expectation of being present and being presentable?! There is no real solution, other than acceptance. Andie and I often reiterate that "You can do anything, you just can't do everything all of the time." And so it goes... sometimes I'll be playing in a fort in pjs and sometimes I'll be attending art openings. I will most likely Instagram just the pretty ones, but just know that if I look cute, it probably took a lot of work and there are probably cracker crumbs in my hair that you don't see.

A Few Tips for Being Present and Looking Presentable in Photographs That I've Created for Myself:
Smile, for real.
Stand up straight, but don't suck anything in. It makes you hold your breath which looks unnatural.
• For a split second before the picture is shot, remember who you are with and why. That authenticity will be apparent.
• Remember that no matter how bad you think you look right now, in twenty years, you'll think you looked dynamite.

First photo by Jaquilyn Shumate Photography

4 comments:

  1. This was lovely Emily. I actually love the way you look in photographs because you radiate something so very rare and almost impossible to fake- Warmth

    When you grow up with glasses, a gap in your teeth and wild hair, you hate the way you look for a good 14 years and then slowly you learn to make the best of what you've got.

    My sister and i have a little tradition-about once a week we text each other a picture taken right when we wake up...pre make-up, pre-shower and then we tell each other something fabulous. We may not look awesome...but it reminds us that looking good in photographs really begins with being okay with who we are from the minute we wake up in the morning. I'm not 100% there yet...but i keep trying:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, thanks for that.
      I love that you and your sister have such a sweet tradition -- perhaps I'll try it with my sister, although I bet we'll end up laughing at each other more often than not :)

      And, for the record, I think that a gap between front teeth is an attractive feature! Is that weird?!

      Delete
  2. I think about this a lot actually. I have a lot of mom-friends who work so hard on getting cute pictures of their kids that they don't end up in the photo very often. Not that I'm much better - I'm so self conscious about photos that its really hard to ever be happy with one. With a year of being behind the camera in front of me I've been thinking a lot about just letting it all go and being happy being me.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "For a split second before the picture is shot, remember who you are with and why. That authenticity will be apparent."

    This is a great idea! I'm trying it next time.

    ReplyDelete

Blogging tips