I am seriously not keen on staged or posed portrait photos of me – especially just me alone – even the thought of it leaves me feeling truly uncomfortable somewhere deep down inside, all squirmy and suddenly clammy all over. The thing is, there are plenty of photos of me as a young child, sometimes caught candidly, sometime posed, and I seemed to have been fine with it then, so I wonder when did my discomfort begin?
With realisation of the not-good-enough self, perhaps, an awareness of apparently not meeting the required standards in life? Or of not liking what I see, of being a disappointment? I’m not terribly keen on being in pics with other people, either, but at least I feel a bit more at ease with that – candid snapshots with me and my grandkids, for example, make wonderful memories to be treasured however fat/old/wrinkly I look. But just me on my own… no!
I’m quite clearly not one of the millennial generation, who all seem to think nothing of taking about a million selfies every day in a hundred different public places but always with the same moue mouth, and then posting the best shots online. I always feel far too self-conscious to appear so self-absorbed in public, and all too often it shows in the end result. My husband takes some good selfies of us together, but he knows he needs to catch us quickly or I start to look either stony-faced or forced-stare-y.
But today I was on my own in our local park, lying on my back on the short grass and just looking up at the vast hugeness of the sky, like I used to love to do as a kid. There were a few clouds floating about, but overall the sky was beautifully blue and I found myself thinking (amongst other things) about what the sky might start to look like if the ozone layer depletes too much more, or worse, disappears altogether… would we still have a sky at all?
Anyway, at that point in my random reverie I sat up and spontaneously decided to take a selfie or two, just for the sheer hell of it, and of course for posterity. Phone camera on, selfie mode on, and click, click, click, squinting a bit at the screen in the sunlight. A quick look… hmmm… then click, click, click again… enough. The mood passed as suddenly as it had arrived, and the sun chose that moment to hide behind the only huge grey cloud in the sky…
When I got home and looked more closely at what I’d taken, I was, as usual, disappointed. Six pics of me, two of which were OK-ish. There I was in glorious technicolour, double chin, no make-up, hair dishevelled in the soft warm breeze and eyes all wrinked up in the sunshine. God, these phone cameras pick up every flaw in your face. But then I thought – even young people sometimes use filters to make themselves look better, don’t they? So I searched online for something suitable to soften the rather harsh look and…
Ta-da! I still look like me, with my natural dragged-through-a-hedge-backwards look and fake photo smile. The rectangular image simply has a ‘sweet caramel’ haze on it and the square image a ‘soft lilac’ haze, both quite flattering, I find. Two passable al fresco self-portraits in summer, me at 55, in a blue dress against a blue background, on the day I wondered randomly about what colour the sky might be if the ozone layer evaporates… Let’s hope I never have to find out 🙂