Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Profiling Your Personality

I taught a "photography for jewelers" workshop at Beadlush this past weekend. It's specifically designed for people who are just getting started as a business to be able to shoot decent images of their work for Etsy and other online venues.

At the end of the workshop, we all used one of the most popular networking phrases around right now ---- "I'll 'friend' you on Facebook." It really can be more convenient than handing out a stack of business cards... It can save money and trees. However, it can lead to confusion if you're shy about posting an image of your face as your profile picture. Or if you're trying to be cute/current/hip/whatever. I had to go in and change mine so people could find me since I had changed my image to a picture of my feet in the snow.
Not a very efficient way for new acquaintances to get to know me.

But it got me thinking --- why are people so obsessed with withholding their image?
Are they insecure about their looks? Are they in WITSEC? Or is there maybe an unconscious adherence to the belief by some cultures that having your image captured actually captures a part of your soul?

I tend to go with the vanity option. I am one of those photographers who hates having their photo taken. For me, it's a control thing. I became a proponent of self-portraiture when I figured out that I could dictate exactly how my image would ultimately be displayed. Maybe it's a little BDD, but it is a way of showing people what I think of myself rather than just what might be captured in a random image.

Of course, this is probably a little hypocritical since I shoot to capture a person's essence and personality rather than make them look airbrushed and fake. (For the record, I do not edit my own images to make me look 20 years younger, thinner and cuter! I just get rid of stray corkscrewy hairs and skin blemishes. While I don't like my wrinkles, I have earned each one honestly so they're staying in the pictures!)

I would much rather see a profile picture of someone taking their own picture with their cellphone in a mirror or holding the camera at arms' length than a shot of an inanimate object that never gets changed. After all, I think people are much more beautiful and interesting than they give themselves credit.

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