Ones self image is a very interesting thing. It’s a subject that is talked about a lot in the media, especially in relation to teens, with consideration for eating disorders and other dysfunctions associated with bad self image or low self esteem.
I had someone take some lovely pics of me the other day with a great camera. I needed some nice photos to use for my profile picture on the new website I write for, as well as other various places. I decided to go for something really natural. Me, in my backyard, in my every day clothes and with very little make up on. Now the thing that I found really interesting when the photos came back to me was how it got me thinking about my self image. I decided that my image of myself in my head is clearly photo-shopped. Now perhaps that means I have an over-inflated ego? Or maybe just a really high self esteem? I don’t know, but it was interesting enough for me to analyse it!
Now no one could say that these aren’t very nice pictures. They both look like me, and don’t stray too far from my own self image. However….
When I think about what I look like in my head, my teeth appear much straighter, and whiter. I have a lot less wrinkles around my eyes and forehead, and my chin is a lot straighter. My hair is also a fair bit shiner. It got me wondering about photos. Clearly I ‘edit’ the image of myself in my head in a positive way.
When I look at the full body one however, I was surprised that although I am a little heavier at the moment than I like to be, I didn’t see the ‘photo me’ as chubby or fat, which is what I had expected to see!
Now as I said, those photos were taken by someone who has a good camera, knows how to take photos, and had a special little light to take the photos with. The day was a little grey and it was late afternoon, but all said and done, those photos should have been a little more satisfying! Why didn’t I like them as much as say… the one below?
Granted, this picture was taken about 6 years ago, so I had considerably less wrinkles anyway! It was taken in a dark night club though, on a camera phone, and I had sweated off almost all my make up by then! This photo fits more closely to my image in my head of myself though.
Then, you get photos like the one below, where I was just sitting with my son in a chair and looking out the window. I had a terrible cold, and was wearing no make up at all. Despite all of that, this photo also captures more of ‘me’ I feel.
So, I am now thinking that when it comes to photos, it’s really got a lot to do with how I feel about myself, and what I know about my own personality. Yes light, make up and cameras probably do make a difference to a good photo or a bad one. In the end, it’s the photos that capture a bit of my personality that I like the best. Whether it’s the slightly sexy, sassy one in the night club, or the snuggly, mummy watching something interesting out the window one, they kind of match my inner image better than a posed photo where I do look calm and happy, but somehow slightly uncomfortable!
All that being said though, I’ll still use the ones that were taken especially for my profile pictures, and it will be interesting to know what other people see about me when they look at it!