I hate being photographed ! I would rather walk bare-footed over hot coals or abseil down the North face of the Eiger! I have a phobia about it and here is why.
My father was always a keen photographer and my early life is well documented, photographically. Myself and my siblings became used to being made to stand still for ages, with silly smiles on our faces. To having our games of rounders or cricket interrupted while yet another 'impromptu ' snap was taken. Of balancing precariously on our new bicycle or roller skates. Every event, from our first steps to our last day at school, was pictorially recorded and pasted in an album.
For a time Dad had his own photographic business, taking pictures of dribbling babies, gurning graduates and blushing brides, but I gained little respite. He belonged to a Club of like minded men and women, who talked about 'F' stops and 'field of vision' and the merits of a variety of film and developers, of enlargers and tripods and Hasselblads. As I was fashionable, slim and not unattractive, I was often 'press-ganged' into modelling at this Camera Club and many photos exist of me in some 'glamourous ' pose or another, trying desperately to keep the boredom off my face and failing miserably. I hated every minute and eventually developed (no pun intended) an almost paranoid aversion to being photographed. This has continued on into my adult life until an up to date photo of me barely exists. If I was to lose my memory and forget where I lived, goodness knows what picture my poor family would have to put on the 'missing person' poster !!
My father and his friends, naturally, did their own developing and printing, as this was long before the digital age and the resulting photographs were a pretty accurate depiction of the subject, warts and all, so to speak. Unlike today's digital images, where the picture is so 'photo-shopped' that the result is barely recognisable from the original.
And maybe that's another reason why I hate being photographed . I always think I look ghastly in photographs , a frozen smile , an awkward pose and quite unlike the face I see in the mirror. Every freckle and tiny wrinkle appears to be enlarged in the harsh flash and compares unfavourably with the heavily airbrushed smiles that gaze serenely from every magazine and advertising poster. Our expectations are so much higher now, I can't remember when I last saw a 'natural' face on TV. We are drip-fed a never ending stream of 'perfect' , surgically enhanced, nubile bodies, of impossibly line-free, botox filled faces, of hair extensions and lipo_suctioned thighs and , subconsciously , I suppose that is how I judge myself . I know that all these images are fake but these images are what people now expect . I would need a gauze filter and lighting and photography by Cecil Beaton before I was ready for my close-up, Mr De Mille !!
I am told that I still look good and , for my age ,there is barely a wrinkle. Now I just need to convince myself. That may take some time.
A rare, up to date picture of 'yours truly' can be found on my twitter profile @tearose68 , it may frighten small children !!