Due to a new initiative developed for our customers, we had new “head shot” photos taken in our office this week. It is important to keep in mind that out of 16 people in my department, 11 are women. Therefore, having our photos shot is not something that is generally taken lightly. As much as we may appreciate the need to have something up to date, we are reluctant (to say the least) to take that seat facing the camera.
The best news of course in modern technology is the fact that images are now digital – long gone are the days of sitting for portraits, having 6 photos taken, then waiting 2 weeks for the proofs and hoping that just one will be halfway decent. Now we can review a gazillion pictures (if the photographer is patient enough) to select the best one….or, as most of us feel, the least of the worst… and we can demand that all others be deleted immediately.
As I was reviewing my photos, our photographer said “is there something you don’t like about them?” And I sighed and said “well, I’m looking at photos of myself. I will always be too critical to ever say they are fabulous.” As the morning progressed, and more of us had our photos shot, we started congregating around the screen to review them together (because we are women – we need at least 3 opinions before making a decision). I was struck by how truly critical we are of ourselves.
The comments we were hurling around went something like this:
“When did my face get so round? I look like I have pockets of fat all over my face.”
“I miss the days when my skin looked smooth and flawless.”
“Today is rainy, so I’m having such a bad hair day.”
“Can you photoshop out my wrinkles?”
“Yikes, do I really have that many lines in my face? “
“What is going on with my eyes? One eyelid droops lower than the other. It makes me look crooked.” (This last one was my contribution. I spent the rest of the day wondering if I should walk around holding one eye open further to train it match the other better.)
In stark contrast, when we all made comments about each other’s photos, this is what we heard:
“You look so pretty with your hair down like that.”
“Oooh, you have to use that one, it is a great shot! You look more like you in it.”
“Your smile is so nice there.”
“You know, you look better in the one he didn’t re-touch.”
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could start seeing ourselves the way we see others? When we look at other people, we look at their whole face as one image. We “see” their personality. We don’t pick out imperfections. We instead notice outstanding features, like a welcoming smile, twinkling eyes, or amazing hair color. We see beauty.
What a shame that we don’t have the same viewpoint when we look in the mirror, or turn the camera on ourselves.
As I was walking into the studio, I made a derogatory comment about having my photo taken. Our photographer said “Think of it this way. In 20 years, you are going to look at this photo and wish you still looked that good.” You know what? He’s right. Let’s all be glad we are vibrant Real Women and try to see ourselves the same way we see others.