Wednesday, March 7, 2018

FEAR OF PHOTOS by Hannah Rowan

In this age of constant selfies and people snapping photos of every event with their phones, I still can’t seem to relax and act naturally when someone is taking my picture.  And yet I needed a picture for my blog and for a possible website and various other things authors need pictures for.  Until now I’ve been cropping the rare photos family members take, resulting in very blurry and very old pictures.

The first time I had a picture taken for the humor column I used to write for our local paper, I concluded that either the editor hated me and chose the worst one of the bunch, or the rest were so horrible she couldn’t print them in a family newspaper. I was horrified when someone actually recognized me in the grocery store because she’d seen my picture in the paper because, I concluded, that must mean I really looked like that.

In general my pictures feature what my friend calls “the deer in the headlights look” because I’m trying to pop my eyes open so I don’t look all squinty the way I do when I smile.

So last week I went off to a professional photographer ( recommended by friends in my writing group.  I loved their pictures!  And she assured me she’d be able to help me relax.

In truth, I did enjoy meeting her and doing the photo session.  She took me to a beautiful park where I could focus on watching people walk their dogs instead of thinking about how I looked. She said all those things photographers say like “beautiful,” and “tilt your head just a bit…perfect!”  I had great confidence in a good outcome.

The problem came when she sent me the proofs.

And my goodness, that’s not what I see when I look in the mirror!  Where did those wrinkles come from?  And my hair—I was sure I combed it.  What’s all that extra stuff around my waist?  Did someone stuff a pillow in there when I wasn’t looking?

So now I have a new photo my daughter assures me is “cute” and I can ditch the one that someone took when I was gardening twenty-something years ago.

I’ll have to put it up on my various social media pages.

And then I’m going to Google plastic surgeons.


  1. You look great! I used to worry about everything. Not so much now that I’m older. I wish I would’ve been more like this when I was younger!

  2. Lol. Karen's right--you do look great! My favorite picture to use is one taken on my phone in a winery when I was doing some tasting. Maybe I was just so relaxed the wrinkles slid down into my neck.

  3. I hate seeing photos that others have taken of me and posted on FB. I want control of the image I use. Maybe it's the same kind of thing. Good post Hannah and I love your pic. Sometimes our daughters know best.

  4. Hannah, your photo is great! We are our own worst critics. I don't love my picture being taken either. I'm a blinker. I wonder where the lines on my face have come from, the extra skin, the tired eyes. My hair is my best feature. So, whenever I can I take my photo with sunglasses on. Then I'm almost guaranteed to like it. Ha!

  5. Hannah, you look amazing! I wish I looked half that good.

  6. Thanks for the compliments! Of course she photoshopped that picture, and it's not the one my daughter thinks is cute, where I'm smiling and my eyes are all squinty. Like Bonnie, I hate coming across pictures of me on FB. And like Stacey, I blink a lot when someone takes the picture. The photog mentioned wine but it was 10am. And yes, when I look back at the very few old pictures of myself, I'm amazed that I thought I was fat or whatever. Wish I looked that way now.

  7. Love your article, but love your pics too. The one that is smiling is so cute and friendly; everyone would love to stop you at the grocery store to chat! This other one is mysterious and alluring - the chap at the grocery store would be wondering if you would be adding his saucy affair to your next chapter - while his wife would love to take you aside and ask you if you're writing about any interesting people in the community! (Both are lovely Portrait Photos, Hannah).

  8. Your photo is perfect. You look strong, reflective, and interesting.


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