Sunday, October 31, 2010

Optically Disillusioned

This morning, I got to thinking about perception. Mainly, it was about our skewed perception of how we see ourselves. Or, maybe our take on ourselves is totally accurate and it’s everyone else’s view of us that’s off…I’m not completely clear on this.

Hey, it’s Halloween. The day where people dress up to be anyone but themselves. So, of course I would make this mental jump to personal perception. It's me, people...

Do you remember the first time you heard your own voice on tape? Did you respond as I did with, “WTF? Ew. That’s not me. I do not sound anything like that. That’s not even funny. I sound nothing like that in my head. Please tell me that’s Phyllis Diller and not me.”


Actually, I feel pretty much the same way about me in photos. What the hell happens between the me that I see in the mirror and the one that winds up in that photograph? Nine out of ten times, I absolutely abhor any and all photos of myself. And so, it became a jaw-clenching, stomach-churning moment when I needed to download a profile photo of myself for our website at work. Don’t these people realize how difficult this is? Most of the team just snapped photos directly from the cameras atop their monitors via Skype and were done with it.

Me?? I’m still that default photo…


…which could suffice as a better likeness than the real me, if it wasn’t for the lack of hair. We all know how I feel about having good hair. Mine needed to be colored that day...and we all know how unflattering that office lighting can be. Are you insane? I'm gonna need a color, cut, makeover, better lighting and a hefty cocktail before I'd even consider doing this. I mean, really.

And I know what you’re gonna say…so don’t even bother. For all your huffing and puffing about everyone looking great in every profile photo, only you and your trusty non-verbal camera know how many takes it took before you were comfortable enough to hit the “publish” button to upload your image for the entire world to see….so don’t you be judging me.

I find that these days, the camera is not my friend…and I’d swear it’s not returning the same image I see staring back at me. I mean, where I’m seeing this:


…the end result looks more to me like this:


Something’s gotta be wrong with this camera…or maybe it’s the stupid flash...it's too bright and it's picking up strange, foreign...shadows, or something. Maybe I need one of those white umbrella-thingies they use in the model photo shoots that'll make me look all soft and willowy. Or, maybe I need to take a crash course in Photoshop…and learn how to take those eyes…and combine them with that smile…and erase these wrinkles. I just need one decent shot where I don't look old, fat, plain, lopsided, messy, stupid or downright ridiculous. Is that so much to ask??

Or, maybe I should start posing for photos more like my friend Phyllis, there…and just go for the ridiculous…right from the get-go. Then, when I look awful, at least it’ll look intentional. Now, there’s a serious thought.

Oddyoddyo13 said...

Nah. It's the cameras. They're all designed like that.

Climb2Nowhere said...

Don't be so hard on yourself!!!! I find the happier I am at the moment the better the picture comes out. Professional hair and make up don't hurt either!

Chrissy said...

You're too funny. You're GORGEOUS in pics and I'm sure, even more so in person.

Hope all is well with you. Sorry I've been MIA.

Love ya!
Chrissy

Vince said...

After about 5yo it is never good to face the camera full on. Quarter your mug and swivel the eyes into the lens.
And I'll bet you that Indian chick has pores like the surface of the moon for that look is the product of about a weeks worth of photoshop man hours.

Gigi said...

How do you do that, Kathryn?!?! I was thinking along the same lines just the other day. Seriously.

I'm beginning to think that Photoshop would be a very good investment for me....

You on the other hand are perfect just the way you are.

Amy said...

It's not you. Cameras are evil ugly making machines.

Lauren said...

Far be it from me to question you, but I'm pretty sure you don't look nearly as awful as that last picture. I know what you mean though... my display picture is a lily. I also hate 9 out of 10 pictures that have me in them.

Christopher said...

stop worrying you're a fox!

Alan W. Davidson said...

I say leave the photos to the professionals. Next time I go, I'm asking them to take 30 years off of me. They are cerified magicians as well, no?

Kristy said...

Yeah, I feel the same way. Don't usually like the way I look in photos. Rarely, sometimes, you get a keeper and then that is what represents me for YEARS!

Alicia said...

Kathryn my dear...we have digital cameras now. We can take 600 pics if we have to until we get just the right one!

But you are so right. I see a fresh-faced, smiling, happy person in the mirror when I leave in the mirror...but when I see myself in the office bathroom mirror I look like that last photo, seriously.

Just keep snapping them until you get just the right one, I know you will. Hey, let us see the one you pick!

KellyGrrl said...

I swear... either my eyes lie or the camera does........ I think it's the tricksy camera...

HulaBuns said...

Oh man, I am sooo with you on this. I may post ridiculous pictures of myself on my blog, but that doesn't mean it's because I think I'm photogenic. In fact, it's quite the opposite.

However, I'm sure your profile picture will be great. We're always our own worst critics, unfortunately. :)

Carol said...

I thought it was just my camera. I figured Mo put one of those teenage girl curses on it cause all of her pictures are cute and sassy and all of mine are haggard and make me wonder when I started looking like a man. I'm glad I'm not alone in this boat, too bad cameras are so common now otherwise we could just go with the default.

Stephanie in Suburbia said...

I refuse to believe my face is as fat in real life as it is in photos. Cameras suck.Mirrors aren't much better :)

Monica said...

I feel the same way! The last job I worked at sent us for professional pics to put on the website and such. That made me feel better. Luckily for me I spent A LOT of extra time to make myself look good that day. When I hear my voice I cringe...ugh..how can people stand to talk to me??

Fierce said...

I find it so much easier to have a mental image of what I look like and keep that all day. I'm happier with that, even though my friends and family complain that I have no pictures lol. Don't worry Kathryn, you do look gorgeous (funny how pictures look good to everybody but the subject of the picture); just keep that damn lying camera away from me!

:)
xoxo

kathryn said...

Oddyoddyo13: Ah. (sighs deeply) What a relief! I knew you'd have the answer I insisted on (I mean, needed) to hear. Yup...it's definitely the camera. I'm almost/pretty much/99% sure of it.

Climb2Nowhere: Um...well, yeah! Professional photographer wouldn't be too shabby, either. Bring it...it's about time I got myself a decent shot!

Chrissy: Aw. I love you too, sweetie! And don't you ever feel the need to apologize. We all get crazed...no-one knows (or understands) this better than I. I'll always be one of your biggest fans.

kathryn said...

Vince: Well, you are a very wise man. I did as you suggested and I am pleased w/the results....'specially since I did not need to use Photoshop! I'll admit, though...putting masking tape over that damn flash helped a lot as well!

Gigi: Aw. My twin...you always know just what to say. I know we're perfect, dammit. It's the freakin' camera that seems to have not gotten that memo!

Amy: You are 100% correct, sweetie. Evil, nasty, horribly-inaccurate machines. Sometimes, I think we'd be better off just sticking with the default avatar.

kathryn said...

Lauren: Why is that? Why do all the photos omit our...our....inner beauty?? Huh. I think I've just answered my own question.

Christopher: Okay...you are now officially my favorite guy. Want a drink? Something to eat? The remote control??

Alan W. Davidson: YES....Photoshop's the magician, alright. Someone had to invent Photoshop to offset the damage seen by the lens of the average camera! Lose/lose!

kathryn said...

Kristy: I know! I wish we could use that one prized photo on our driver's license. I don't know about you but my last one is just AWFUL....so I've kept the one from last time. It's only, what? 10 years old??

Alicia: Honey, I must've gone through a hundred photos till I was happy. Between the hair and the eyes and the smile and the angle and the lighting...well, you know what I mean. Best trick I learned this time was to cover part of the flash with tape. Sometimes, too much flash is not a good thing.

KellyGrrl: I agree, sweetie. 'Cause if it's gotta be one or the other, it can't possibly be our eyes, right??

kathryn said...

HulaBuns: Well, I'm with you. It's certainly easier to post a hilarious photo than to wait forever for a good one. I think you're on the right track! (Besides, I've seen how beautiful you really are!)

Carol: Ha! You are too funny, girl! I believe you might be onto something with the teenage girl-curse idea. It is a big coincidence that they always look good, right? I mean, we used to look good...before we had them...

Stephanie in Suburbia: HA! Well, this is where we must apply that "camera adds 30 lbs" rule. It is 30, right? Yeah...I'm pretty sure it's 30lbs and what? At least ten years...

kathryn said...

Monica: Ha! You're too funny! That sounds awesome that they gave you professional photos for the website. Yikes...it's scary enough, putting your face out there in cyberspace. I cringe when I hear my voice as well!

Fierce: You got it, sweetie! (Not that you have anything to worry about, you gorgeous thing, you) I'm loving your idea of simply painting my own image in my head. I'm foregoing mirrors from now on and just doing that!

Jerry said...

I'll solve your problem. Send me five photos of yourself and I will pick the one that is the most flattering.



Psssst...don't tell Marilyn.

Jen said...

You're crazy. You look great in photos. But, I know what you mean. When I get a really good photo I like to plaster it as they are so few and far between.

Jenny said...

Oh my gosh, so hysterical! I'll step out thinking I. am. hot. And then somebody shows me a pic from that night and I'm like who's the linebacker with frizzy hair? Looks familiar. It's a very humbling experience I tell you.

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