I just realised the other day that I haven’t had my photo taken in over a year now. Not since 2010. Makes me feel better. Especially when I occasionally log on to Facebook and see everyone – girls in particular – squirm when facing the camera.
So why do people have that deer-caught-in-the-headlights expression in the moment their photo is taken?
I’ll tell you. It is because photography is a form of voyeurism. While this may be a godsend for exhibitionists and attention whores, most people dread photography whether they admit it or not. This is because it allows people to see you without them being there and you rarely have any choice in who gets to see a photo of you. There is a loss of control involved here. Often you will never know who else will see photos of you. You have no control over this (regardless of what your notions of privacy options are).
The anxiety you experience when staring into the camera lens is caused by the knowledge of an unknown observer watching you.
No one likes to be seen by a hidden observer. It’s like the peeping tom you’re oblivious of while he leisurely watches you. And don’t forget, once obtained – that little snapshot will last forever. You have been immortalised and a stranger owns your portrait. Worse, they might be someone you even despise, someone you would never want to see you.
Most girls get all shy when you just look at them. I hate to imagine what goes through their minds the split second before the photo’s taken, a photo they’re aware will find its way on other people’s Facebook profiles because why take a photo if you aren’t going to share it with the world, eh?
Most people cannot hide their discomfort when they’re about to be photographed. That explains the dead eyes, uneasy smiles and shitty hand gestures in everyone on your Facebook network. So I have to wonder, why you put yourself through all that shit when you can avoid it all by not having your photo taken whenever possible…
- Cotton is a professional photographer and owns photos of you.