“But I’m not photogenic…” Here’s why you’re wrong

Photogenic

adjective

  1. (especially of a person) looking attractive in photographs or on film.

 

I get it.

The thought of being in front of a camera makes you want to curl up in a corner and hide from the world. The idea of seeing photographs of yourself makes you shrivel up inside and wish you were anywhere else but here.

Honestly, I get it. 

I am way more comfortable behind the camera! But hold up a second, this is not me giving you a free pass to not get in front of a camera. Sorry, if you wanted that free pass, it’s not going to happen!

Here’s why:

Fast forward into the future, years ahead, to a time where you are no longer around. 

Your daughter is sitting with your grandchildren. She is flicking through photographs of her childhood and telling the stories behind the photographs. There are pictures with her grandparents when they took her to the zoo for the day, images with her siblings at birthday parties, there’s a photograph she loves, her on her Daddy’s shoulders. You are missing. There are no photographs of you. You don’t exist in her album, maybe because your thighs are too big, or you have a double chin, you don’t like your boobs… whatever the excuse or thoughts that are stopping you from being in front of the camera now; in the long scheme of things, is it really that important?

Hint: The answer is no.

I want you to think about your favourite photograph of your parents or grandparents. 

When you look at that photograph, what goes through your head?

“He looks so overweight.” 

“She looks so old and wrinkly.”

“Ugh look at that cellulite and those double chins.”

I hope that there was a massive disconnect with those thoughts because they do not belong anywhere near that photograph of your parents or grandparents and they won’t occur to your loved ones about you!

When your daughter discovers the photograph of you huddled together reading stories before bed, she isn’t going to notice the flaws that seem so glaringly obvious to you. She’s going to be so thankful she has a photograph of you with her. It’s a reminder of the way you lovingly tucked her into bed every night of her childhood.

When your son opens the family album and sees the picture of you cheering him on at a football game, he’s not going to see the weird facial expression, he’s going to remember how you were there on the sidelines every game, supporting him.

When your sister finds the image of you together at a family wedding, she isn’t going to see the wrinkles, she’s going to remember how you laughed every time you were together.

It is more important that your loved ones have photographs of you than you feel like you look like a model in the photographs.

Viewing our wedding photos

We were welcomed into the studio and made ourselves comfy as we sat to view the photographs we had anticipated for weeks. Our lovely wedding photographer explained her rule; we were allowed to have an image we didn't like deleted, but if one of us liked it then it stayed.

This image came up on the screen:

I didn't like how I looked in the photograph so suggested that it be deleted.

My husband simply stated: "It stays."

His favourite photograph of me from our wedding day is this photograph. We have been married for 4 years now and it still sits in a place where he'll see it often. If he had a space for photographs in his wallet, this would be the one he carries with him. Knowing he loves this photograph so much makes me glad it wasn't deleted. 

It still isn't my favourite photograph of myself, I still feel I look a bit weird in it but that isn't what he sees. He sees love and because I love him, this photograph stays. 

My favourite photographs are expressions of family relationships; they are full of fun and games; embraces; family togetherness; ultimately, they are full of love.

It’s time that we start to love our bodies more and stop picking out the flaws. 

I love the quote from Giovanna Fletcher after a stranger pointed out her baby bump mere days after giving birth: 

“Yes, I still have a bump. But that bump kept my little baby boy safe for a whole nine months. That bump has filled my world with even more love and light than I knew possible. That bump is a miracle worker… My bump will slowly go over time, but I’ll never stop being thankful to it and my body for everything it’s given me.”

Did that hit you? “I’ll never stop being thankful to... my body.” I am so guilty of body shaming myself.

body shaming

noun

1. the action or practice of humiliating someone by making mocking or critical comments about their body shape or size.

adjective

1. expressing mockery or criticism about a person's body shape or size.

 

I think the extent to which I criticise my body really hit me when I went to a make-up stand and the words “I hate my eyelashes” came out of my mouth. This was the last item on a list of things I hoped make-up would fix about my face. I know I’m not the only one. Why do we do this to ourselves?

Can we please make a pledge to stop focusing on and picking out our flaws?

Let’s start looking at our laughter lines and remember the lifetime of moments we have spent laughing with loved ones. 

Let’s see the marks of age on our hands and focus on the labours of love that have been given over and over.

When we see stretch marks let’s focus on the beautiful babies that were welcomed into the family or the wonderful height which we grew to (short or tall).

A Norwegian proverb reads “That which is loved is always beautiful.” 

You are loved. Your family love you because of who you are. They see the beauty in the photographs of you. Let’s start to love our bodies and be grateful to them a little more than we are now.

Where there’s love, there’s no such thing as not photogenic.