Friday, June 10, 2011

Posing for Photos

A while back in my blog post, Lost In Pictures, I wrote about all the emotions that are felt when looking at old photographs. Today, however, I am going to talk about the sheer horror of having my picture taken.

I've talked on and on about "positional warfare" but nothing induces it more than having my photo taken. I mean, do I smile? How much of a smile is too much? Posture? Arms? Hands? I think about every inch of my body and how I should be standing.  As this goes on my entire body feels like it wants to jump in 1,000 different directions because I quite simply don't know how I should be in the space that I am. On top of all that I stated the smile issue and it becomes an issue because why should I smile if I am not happy?

I have never been good at faking a smile and if I am smiling it is because I truly am happy. I can't fake happy and I can't fake a smile. See my photo with the blue backdrop on the right hand column of my blog? That's the photo that is on the back of my book and the only reason I am smiling there is because my now deceased cat, Siam, jumped up on my dad's desk and knocked some stuff over.

What brought this topic about was the following photo:

This photo was taken after the races on Sunday in Hagerstown and is a group photo of most of the USAC staff there that day. They put me in front, I think, because of the amount of dirt I had on me. This photo though came up fast and was unexpected. One second I am sitting down gathering my strength back and next moment there's a camera. I stood up and let the others direct me because I was becoming stiff in the positional warfare and just before the picture was taken I put my arms behind my back.

It was a natural reflex. The point of the photo, I guess, was to illustrate just how dirty I was, but within the positional warfare I felt 100% uncomfortable with my arms out. Amid much protest I put my arms out and then processed why it was important and that smile? I was smiling because I realized that this would make a good blog post.

Being on the other side of the lens has never been my strong suit. I am a decent photographer, but this doesn't translate to having my picture taken. When I was in school having my photo taken for the yearbook was always a lengthy ordeal. "Aaron, say cheese!" the photographer would say and I would say, "Why?" When I would say it I said it blandly and without any emotion.

This issue also goes back to the, Are You Okay? blogpost. In that post I stated how many times I get asked, "Are you okay?" because of the typically blandness on my face. Again, I can't fake happy and I can't fake a smile. To simply smile for a photo is something that is difficult. Sometimes in presentations, and in conversations regarding my book, I will say that the hardest part of my book was taking the photo on the back.

Am I the only one with this? I'm sure people not on the spectrum have the same issue, but perhaps not as extreme as this. Some people love their photos taken, others not so much, so what are you?


  1. I absolutely hate having my picture taken. I never know if I look like a moron or if I look fine when I pose for a picture. Bleh.. better to surprise me so I'm not given a chance to think about it.

  2. I love taking pictures, but hate having my picture taken as well. Pics I use for my blog and elsewhere are all self-portraits that took about 100 shots to get one I could live with :). Love your blog background, makes me want to hit the open road.
    Stay inspired!

  3. Same here, I really hate having my picture taken. This also clearly shows in almost all of my pictures, with the wonderful exception of school pictures which always looked quite ok.

    The worst kind of pictures are those for official stuff like passports and drivers licenses. You have to sit exactly right, open your mouth just far enough, make it look exactly like the example pictures. Urgh, it always takes about 30 minutes to get those pictures taken...

  4. I don't mind having my picture taken, but I do share your smile issue. I'm never sure if my face is right. Are my eyes pointing the right direction, is my smile too big or not enough, etc.

    By the way, you are a lot taller than I imagined you to be!

  5. I am 6"1 I believe. How tall did you think I was and what made you think I was shorter?

  6. I thought you'd be shorter for some reason!

  7. In general I have had the same problems as you did with pictures. Don't know how to stand and worst of all: The smile.
    But about 6 years ago my sister took an interest in photographing. By now she has become very good and even helps out in a studio on several anime/manga events and she gets asked to do photoshoots for cosplayers (people who dress up as an anime/manga/videogame character).
    For some reason my sister has begun to see me as her personal assistant. (can't say I put up much of a fight about it though) One of the little tasks she has me do once in a while is having me pose as a phony model to try out the settings on her camera. Also, she likes to just randomly take pictures of me when (she thinks) I'm not looking.
    Because I've had this for about 6 years I've become more relaxed about pictures. I've came to see that I look best on pictures when I'm not posing, but just being natural, so I try to be. Only thing still is that I naturally rarely smile when there's nothing to smile about, so that's still an issue. But I don't really watch my posture a lot anymore. I simply stand in a way that I feel is natural at the moment and try not to think about it too much.
    I know that's easier said than done, but remember this also took me 6 years of having my sister around with her camera.

    There's also another thing, but I feel that doesn't really apply here, since it's Kansas stuff and that feels like cheating. Namely, when I cosplay I LOVE getting my picture taken! It means they like the cosplay that I made, so it's a compliment! Also, I generally know how to stand, because I know how my character would probably stand. And about the smile? Like I said, Kansas. I cosplay at anime/manga conventions and anime/manga conventions are my Kansas, so I'll have something to smile about, making it come more naturally.

    So when at conventions: LOVE IT
    Daily life: Used to hate it, now just not big of a fan.

  8. I hate it! I kind of grit my teeth and hope for the best...unless someone has actually said something funny, which helps. My 17 year old, on the other hand...cannot take enough photos of herself. She posts them on FB and tells us all how gorgeous and awesome she is. that kid!