I'm not actually sure when it happened. It feels like overnight, but I guess over the last 5 years it's been way more obvious. I have been more reluctant to get in front of the camera. Oh don't worry I'm as much a show pony as the next show pony, but I prefer to show off behind the camera these days. I have a few reasons for not wanting to have my photo taken that are less obvious than just reaching a certain age and sometimes being a little shocked or disappointed with what I see in the mirror. (Like seriously! When did that crease appear in my face?!!!).
I have funny eyes and a kind of lopsided face. When I was 16, whilst hanging out the washing my hand slipped and I knocked myself in the eye. What resulted was a detached retina, and over the years my eye became lazy, for which I had a few surgeries, but it never really came right. As time went on I started losing vision in that eye, and 5 years ago I had cataract surgery to see if I could recover anything. It was not a success and I am now completely blind in my right eye. It has even turned from blue to green!!! Some people say "Oh Wow!"
I hope they genuinely think its cool rather, than like me, think it looks just plain weird!
Then when I was 30 I woke up one morning with a small lump in my jaw... by the end of the day one side of my face was numb, and my eye couldn't close properly (I wasn't too impressed that it was my good eye that I now couldn't see out of!). Oh yeah, and my face would only smile on one side. Bell’s Palsy. It probably took about 6 months for it to come right, but even now when I smile it looks lopsided to me. To be honest I don't think other people notice it. After all no one really has a symmetrical face.
And then comes the big one. It's my birthday this month. (I’m not expecting presents honestly, but just to let you know I'm saving for a canon 5D mkiii!). And next year is going to be a "significant" birthday. I never used to mind saying my age, but now it’s like I have some sort of gagging order on it!!! I think that happened around the time everything started going south.
So the upshot is I hate having my photo taken because I think I look weird and I’m staring a half century down the barrel. Half century???!!!!!! But the thing is, in my mind I think I stopped at around 18. So for me, what is on the inside and what’s on the outside don’t match up! And when I see myself I kind of feel uncomfortable.
When I post a photo of myself on my photography page, the comments are nearly always positive. I don’t do it to receive accolades, but it’s nice for people to see who I am. Well I hope it’s nice anyway! And of course it does feel good when someone says something complimentary. And never has anyone mentioned I have wonky eyes or a funny smile. I think what they are seeing is me. The me that likes a good belly laugh and sings at the top of her very off key voice, and shows off when she gets her hair done, and can scrub up okay when the need arises, but who also bemoans the fact that those jeans are getting snug, whilst munching down a piece of gluten free cake.
But the thing is ... I hear a lot of women around my age, saying they hate having their photo taken, because they are getting older and have put on a bit of weight. And they shouldn’t. Because what I see is not really what they see in the mirror. It’s what is shining through on the inside that I see. I see 50 years or more of life experience, and kindness and wisdom, joy and sadness, and I can see that they still have that sparkle in their eye, and I see a vibrant woman who will jump up when Dancing Queen comes on the radio and still secretly uses her hairbrush as a microphone. A woman who’s family and friends love her with all their hearts, and I see that woman, with all her insecurities, that still has so much more in life to live.
And I want to show those women to the world!
I believe in working with you to create images you will love, and cherish, because "It's all about you!"