Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fear of Flashing

Say cheese!

Kids, dogs, furniture, vehicles, and foliage – anything really – is not safe from molestation when someone is trying to take my picture. Close up. Personal. Nothing puts me on edge quite like formal portraits. Of me. The term “headshot” means getting capped by someone with an Italian surname has a particular resonance to me, and it doesn’t mean a pretty airbrushed photo-shopped depiction of my face.

Try to get me to hold still for a photo? Brace yourself for the most pain-in-the-ass self-conscious flurry of bad behavior excuses. Frequently all you will capture is part of my image shielded by someone, their face contorted in mid- “what th’? as my death grip clutch-and-shove technique maneuvers them into a blocking position. I get comfy only when I know just my eyes show or a profile or just the outline of my departing atoms are revealed to be exiting, cartoon-like, out of frame. Exit stage left!

I can sometimes avoid it (like a big sissy) by allowing that I could “break the camera” with my super-destructo kinetic ability to melt lenses. Or by telling the shutterbug why bother? With my obvious vampiric tendencies, no image would show up anyway. Or by taking the camera like a diva auteur and announcing “I TAKE the pictures here. I don’t pose for them!” Or even by “directing” myself right out of the shot – “Now you stand here, turn sideways, hand on his shoulder, tuck in the bra strap hon, spinach in tooth sweetie, not too smiley dear!” And I’ll be over here about 100 yards away cringing having a lovely glass of wine…

Native Americans, Aboriginal Australians and paparazzi- fatigued celebrities (Hugh Laurie and Kiera Knightley for instance) think photographs have the ability to steal bits of the soul. I am down with that in a way. Some candid photos of me involved in various activities give me no angina.

It’s the portraits where my eyes are looking straight into the articulating iris of the camera. They feel intimate, raw, unguarded and way too revealing. I feel my soul becoming slightly opaque, stretched out, flattened.

And yet, I sat still recently for a dear friend who photographs everything he can see with bare eyes. Ill with the swine flu, unmade up, unprepared, I allowed some soul stealing anyway. No, I did not break his camera, nor did my image escape being captured. They say to conquer your fears you must confront them.  Here goes.


  1. You are beautiful!! I was expecting someone unattractive. You should get your photo taken more often.....really! :)


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