Smile for the Camera: A “Camera Shy” Phenomenon

Good Monday Morning, to you! I’m back after several days away from the blog world. For a while, I contemplated the direction I was going with this blog. It’s hard to not feel discouraged, or as though I am writing without having anyone listen, but then I realized, the most important thing about having a blog of this kind, is to have fun with it and not place too much pressure on myself, as I so often do in many other respects. Anyway, I wanted to advise those of you who might be reading, to stay tuned this week, because I have a *VERY EXCITING* giveaway on-deck for mid-week! Here’s a hint to pique your interest: what I will be giving away is sure to keep you hydrated! Anyhow, now that I’ve finally announced my very FIRST giveaway, let’s get to today’s musing, or at least, allow me to introduce it. Over the weekend, while mindlessly perusing Facebook, I stumbled across an ad sponsored by one of my favorite companies, not only for their high-quality, trustworthy products, but also for the initiatives they support and produce: Dove. Perhaps you’ve noticed it as well – it is a Dove advertisement with a woman shielding her face and on her face covering is the curious statement: 77% of women are camera shy. This may be shocking to some, but to others, they may see it as a definite truth. I was a little bit of both, but more on that in a minute. Allow me to brief you on my morning eats:

Breakfast (Monday, July 29, 2013):

1 container Yoplait 100 Vanilla Greek Yogurt: (As I believe I’ve noted before, this particular flavor of vanilla Greek yogurt is potentially one of my favorites. The vanilla flavor is strong, not muted and fresh. Plus, it mixes very well with cereal. I must note, yesterday I had another brand of Honey Vanilla Bean Greek Yogurt – Voskos, and loved the flavor, plus I could see actual vanilla BEAN in the yogurt! Vanilla bean = high quality alert, for sure!)

1 cup ShopRite store-brand Crispix: (This cereal is a new purchase, since I’ve been wanting Crispix for awhile. The Kellogg’s name brand version of Crispix, however, was much too expensive for my wallet, so I settled for the ShopRite version, which in my opinion, is just as good and fits the bill. It brought a wave of nostalgia over me, as I recall being 8-years-old, piling my morning cereal bowl high with a mixture of Crispix and Life Cereal, some of it spilling out, as I heartily dug into my large pile.)

1 cup Special K Multigrain Flakes (Such a good cereal, although I must admit, having it day after day is quickly causing it to become redundant. I think it’s time for me to add a new cereal to my daily repertoire!)

1 Banana (I’m proud to report, I am still doing well with the bananas. No problems here, which is a welcome change!)

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Back to today’s musing: Women and the “Camera Shy phenomenon, as stated by Dove. As I previously mentioned, a part of me is not at all surprised or shocked to have the read the statement: “77% of women are camera shy.” The other part of me thought to myself, “Gee, I see so many pictures women take each day of themselves, posting it on their blogs, their instagram accounts, Twitter, Facebook and the like. However, I came to realize, I am truly only viewing a very, very small sampling, in that there are millions of women scattered throughout the world. Some of these women may post photos of themselves, but feel considerably uncomfortable and uneasy doing so. They may even do it, because it is part of their job responsibilities or do it because they are trying to maintain a certain image or conception of themselves.

However, I will be first to admit, I fall in the 77% of women who are camera shy. More often than I can count, I’ve shied away from the camera, fearful of how the camera may actually portray me, or how I’ll end up seeing myself. While my self-perception may be distorted or not, having my picture taken often leaves me feeling vulnerable. When my picture is taken, I surrender any control of how I look to the camera, or at least, it often feels that way. When I was a child, I loved having my photo taken, or recording home videos with my sister, Hope. It didn’t matter to me if my hair was matted or frizzy, or if I had chocolate smeared on my face. All that mattered was capturing that happy, carefree moment I was having. 

A large part of me still wishes I was that way, comfortable and at ease when having my photo taken. There have been so many occasions where I shunned having my photo taken, only to regret later, realizing they are memories I could look back on and see the happiness in the photo. Sure, I can still experience those memories within my mind and heart, but being able to see a photo can often capture a different angle or sense of it. So often, I’ve wanted to take a simple, innocent photo with my mom, sister, a friend, or Oliver, my dog, and I’ve declined. Or I’ve had a photo taken and begged whoever had taken it to either delete it or never show anyone.

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How sad I am to read that statement about 77% of women being camera shy. How I wish I could encourage fellow women, myself included, to own the camera! Or to smile as brightly and as big as we can, no matter if our hair is frizzy, or if our cheeks are sunburned, or if our shirts are wrinkled. Let us focus on the happiness of the moment, of relishing in the time we are spending with others, and the smiles on our faces and in our eyes; let these be what the camera captures and the other “imperfections,” fade quickly into the background, nearly disappearing entirely.

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I’ve mentioned Dove is a company I fully support, not only for their products, but for what they encourage, support and advocate for. If you’re unfamiliar, several years prior, Dove instituted, “The Self-Esteem Fund,” and the “Campaign for Real Beauty.” Many of you have probably seen some of the videos and commercials Dove has produced (i.e. the model who starts off bare-faced and in the end, becomes photoshopped and completely made-over; or the public service announcement stating statistics regarding the heartbreaking way many girls/women view their bodies and overall selves). When I think of Dove and their campaigns and initiatives, it’s hard not to smile and at the same time, feel sad. My smiles are from the comfort in knowing a company as large as Dove finally notices and recognizes what females as a whole routinely feel and encounter, and my tears are from learning of these truths, confirming much of the way, I, myself often feel. They are making attempts to change these truths, or at least, confront them and allow girls/women to realize they are truly not alone in their sentiments.

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Seeing this statement regarding the significant percentage of women who are camera shy, I encourage my fellow girls/women and also, the guys out there, because I believe many boys/men are also similarly camera shy, to own the camera. Smile your beautiful and/or handsome smile, never hide your flaws or imperfections, because they make you, you and remember, the camera and eye catches a genuine smile and happiness better than a flaw. When one is wearing a smile and enjoying themselves, it’s often difficult to look at much else, therefore, perceived flaws and imperfections fade into the background, as simply a minor detail in an otherwise beautiful photo and moment captured in time.

In the words of one of my favorite childhood authors, Dr. Seuss:

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QUESTION: Do you enjoy having your photo taken? If not, why?

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2 thoughts on “Smile for the Camera: A “Camera Shy” Phenomenon

  1. I am extremely camera shy. I hate looking at myself in pictures and I am extremely critical of what I look like. Probably my low self-esteem kicks in. It’s the memories of those precious moments that linger in the pictures, not how I look. I’m going to try to remember that. Thanks!

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