“Get the camera out of my face!”
“Oh wow, I look terrible in that picture. Thank God for the delete button!”
“Hey, just saw your profile… do you mind taking down that one shot of me…you know, the one from that party in high school where my face is stuffed with easy cheese…”
These are phrases and questions (demands, really!) that we’ve all heard before. Whether we’ve heard it from loved ones or out of our own mouths, all of us have a photo (or two or ten *cough*) that we’d rather keep in that dusty box under the bed. Or hidden permanently from our timelines.
There’s a vanity in all of us, whether or not we want to admit it, to look our very best, especially to the outside world. It seems to be intrinsic in our psyches, but it can be taken too far.
When you think of someone who is obsessed with how they look, with which pictures they will allow on social media, getting the right lighting and filter, etc., teens probably come to mind first. But adults think about this stuff, too. They too ask friends to remove or delete “unflattering” pictures of them. They too spend hours getting the lighting or angles just right. They too download editing apps created to actually change the way they physically look in their pictures. I admit it, I’ve done some of these things, too!
Perhaps sadder than anything, many people- young and old- go to great lengths to avoid being in front of the camera altogether. Have you ever done this? Are you that one who always volunteers to take the family group photo, just so that you do not have to be in it?
If so, let’s take a walk together through the hypothetical future….
You’re on your death bed, let’s say at about 100 years old after living a rich, full life. All of your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren surround you. You pass away, and have a beautiful funeral in which you are honored and remembered for the wonderful person you were. In the days and weeks and years to come, your children try to go on with their lives but still want to remember you. Where do they turn to?
Your family and friends who are left behind to grieve your loss will not care one little bit what you weighed in those photos. No one is going to think that your face looked weird four decades ago or that you once had braces or double chins or wrinkles. They won’t care that your face was stuffed with a burger, that the angle was wrong or the lighting was off.
They just want to be able to see you and remember you. Will you be there smiling back at them?
Take the picture <3