Have you ever just thought about it?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by castrol, Sep 4, 2007.

  1. castrol

    castrol TPF Noob!

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    A lot of the people I take photographs of... well, frankly, a lot of them just don't
    like the look on their face, the way they look in the picture, or just flat out think
    they aren't photogenic enough to have their picture taken. I get this quite a
    bit and I am sure there are plenty of you out there who encounter this pretty
    often. If not, then nevermind. You can just ignore the ramblings of an idiot.

    However, after putting quite a bit of thought into it, I think the reason most
    people don't like images of themselves is that the image they see is not what
    they are used to. The only time people really get a chance to look at themselves
    is in the mirror. Thus, the image they are used to seeing 99% of the time is
    completely backwards from what they see in a photographic image. Not only
    that, but usually when they look in the mirror, they aren't making the normal
    faces that all of their friends and family are used to seeing. Do you ever
    catch that glimpse of someone's personality in a photo, the one that their
    friends or family say, oh yeah, that is soooooo him/her? Then the person in
    that photo doesn't really like it? That is because all of their friends and familly
    are used to seeing that expression ALL THE TIME. They never look in the
    mirror and make that face. They are looking to make sure their smile is good,
    the hair is in place and the makeup is okay.

    The reason all of this came to me was a girlfriend of mine sent me a photo
    that I had taken of her. It was a mirror image of what I had originally shot,
    and her statement to me was...she liked it better that way. Mirrored? To me
    it just looked weird. Then it all kind of hit me.

    Anyway...ramblings, like I said.

    *shrugs*
     
  2. sabbath999

    sabbath999 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Interesting... mirror image... I am going to try a bit of an experiment on this, just out of curiosity...

    Thanks for the idea and the thoughts.
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I think you are on to somthing. I don't think that most people do actually look exactly like their self-image in their heads. When I look in the mirror...I can still see the pole vaulting, relay running captain of the football and rugby teams...that I was in high school. But I sure don't photograph like that anymore. :roll:

    Beyond the technical aspects and lighting that go into good portraits...there is something else. The ability to make the subjects comfortable in front of the camera. I'd say that most people aren't really themselves when a camera is pointed at them...not at first anyway. A good portrait photographer knows how to connect with people and get them to relax and reveal their real selves. It might mean that you take 200 photos...until they are familiar with the camera. It might be that you put the camera down and talk to them for an hour, then quickly bring it out. It's different for each person and situation and it's something that's not easy to learn if it doesn't come natural.
     
  4. Yup, you've hit the nail on the head. Never thought of it.
     
  5. kinau

    kinau TPF Noob!

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  6. castrol

    castrol TPF Noob!

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  7. TheOtherBob

    TheOtherBob TPF Noob!

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    Since everyone's proclaimed this idea genius, I'll of course also claim to have thought about it...

    But actually I have thought about that -- I have a small, but dark mole on the right side of my forehead. Some time ago I was staring at a picture of me, trying to figure out what looked so wrong -- and it was that the mole was on the wrong d***ed side!

    Consider this corrolary - maybe a mirror provides instant facial-muscle feedback. So when you look in a mirror, you open your eyes appropriately, tighten up the smile, don't let your jaw hang in that stupid expression, etc. But in a picture, with no feedback, you don't make the miniscule adjustments -- and so you look all wrong. But that stupid, slack-jawed expression you see in the picture? Yep, that's what your friends see every day.

    But, hey, they're still your friends, so...
     
  8. glaston

    glaston TPF Noob!

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    This is good stuff!

    after high school, most of my friends just settled into everyday life, as most people do.
    This was a change that was noticeable to me.

    Thinking about it, everyone is stuck in that small place in time.
    Adults still have the basic sense of style they had in their late teen years.

    If you interact alot with people who grew up in the 80s, they often have that 80s style to them.
    Tight ass jeans, t-shirts ,mullets, and still listen to that same music.
    They're perpetually stuck in that time period.

    Same goes for personality.
    If you push someone into a stressed state where they react without thinking, they react as they did in that time period that they first learned coping skills.
    This is often true for even 50 year olds and higher.

    So everyone is basically stuck in a static state that dates back to the time period that they felt most in their prime.

    This would then also hold true for their self-image.
    Their self-image is based on how they thought of themselves long ago.
    Which clearly isn't the way they appear right now. So for them to be happy with a photo of themselves, it would have to match their self-image, which in most cases isn't gonna be possible.

    I would venture a guess that that's why people feel better about having their photo taken when yhey are put into stylized scenarios.
    When they wear clothing they wouldn't normally wear, or do their makeup a specific way for the photo, or put into a setting they would never otherwise be in.
    Think about fashion models.
    They are known to be relentless on themselves regarding a distorted self image, too fat, big butt, skinny lips, dark eyes, ec..
    So you would think they would be the ones to have the biggest problem being photographed. It's the other way around though really.
    They don't focus on that in the photo shoot because the C&TD's are sweeping them up in 'playing dress-up', having them in scenes with exotic vehicles and animals, constantly telling them how great they look.
    If you listen, that's what most models liken the photo experience too.
    Playing dress-up.
    Hence, the image they see of themselves is far removed from their actual self-image.
    To the point where their image has been so arbitrarily re-created that they actually like it.

    Same with celebrities who are being photographed by paparazzi(sp) at an off time.
    They aren't all done up for the cameras, so they don't like being photographed.
    The exception is Paris Hilton, who views her entire life as a photo-shoot and probably doesn't go out until her actual appearance is the same as her self-image. Which is totally contrived, and is played out through paparazzi cameras. Ever notice that you really never see her NOT done up like she's at a photo-shoot? Or how they always talk about her as being vain cause she can't walk by a mirror without looking at herself?
    That's not vanity, it's self-doubt!
    She's probably afraid that they're gonna get a photo of her not looking as good as she wants.
     
  9. jeeper

    jeeper TPF Noob!

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    Wow, that's pretty cool. I made a side-by-side comparison of a picture of myself, and strangely, the mirror image one does look 'more normal'.
     
  10. castrol

    castrol TPF Noob!

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    My wife and I stood in the bathroom together and just looked at each other's
    faces in the mirror. It was funny to see...I have seen her in the mirror before,
    but never at any given length. Never just to stand there and look at how
    different she looks backwards in a mirror. Very strange exercise. :D
     
  11. castrol

    castrol TPF Noob!

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    Oh yeah...I guess the same holds true for hearing your voice on tape as well.

    Without the reverb echoing inside your own head, you get to hear what everyone
    ELSE hears when you speak. Another very strange exercise.
     
  12. jeeper

    jeeper TPF Noob!

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    I was once listening to a tape of me and a friend talking. I recognized his voice easily. He gave me a pretty strange look when I asked him who "the other guy" was. My voice doesn't sound nearly as deep in my head as it did on that tape. lol
     

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