Saturday, November 6, 2010

One Hundred Things My Mother Taught Me A Million Times – Chapter 56

(This is the only photo I have of anyone on my dad's side of the family - my namesake, Aunt Sue, and my grandmother Wade, neither of whom I met. Dad had a bunch of brothers too, but no photos of them exist that I'm aware of.)

#56– “Wear white if you want the media to take your picture. They love to photograph people in white.”

Although I’ve always considered this just a mom-ism, now that I’ve thought about it, and done a little research, it makes perfect sense. If you’ve ever watched America’s Next Top Model (guilty confession), you know that they always use a reflective screen to put light on the models faces. I’m assuming that a white shirt has the same effect, and I’ve seen white shirts recommended for photos on the websites of professional photographers.

Of course, as one who will do just about anything to avoid having her photo made, this lesson from mom was more about avoiding the camera: 1.  Mom was such a camera-hog that I back-lashed and tend to avoid having my photo made, and 2.  No matter how hard I suck in my stomach, stand tall, and smile my practice-perfected photo-face, I never look as good as I think I do, and that is just more than I care to reconcile.

I’d hoped there was a more sophisticated word than camera-hog for mom’s craving to be photographed, but all of the words I came up with, narcissist, egocentric, etc., really didn’t apply. Mother was not self-centered, she just liked attention and having her picture made.  There’s not even a clever antonym for photophobic, so I’m making up a new one, photobold, which also isn’t clever, but does give me closure. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, someone who tends to use overly long (pretentious) words is sesquipedalian. Click on Read More Below...

So on to the issue of why I’m not photobold like mom. This psychosis goes so deep I may slip into nitrogen narcosis. It’s about self-image. Heard of it? I’ve never liked the way I’ve looked – not when I was 30, virtually flawless and weighed 115 lbs, and not when I was 40, not flawless but not bad and weighted 130 lbs. Around about the 50 and 150, I finally figured out that I was never going to be happy with the way I looked. It's been uphill from there, and way less psychotic.

As far as the media, although I’ve certainly had plenty of chances in my past for that gig, I never felt comfortable in the limelight, and never perfected the seven-second sound bite.

In fact, I’m usually the one behind the camera because I love to take pictures of family and friends! Of course I've thrown away all the photos of me that don’t look pretty good. My great great grandchildren will suffer the harmless delusion that their great great grandmother was a looker.

So mom was right, if you want the media to take your picture, wear white, (and jump in front of the camera every chance you get).

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