Facing One’s Fears…..

A masked face in the crowd (IMG_3789)

A masked face in the crowd (IMG_3789) (Photo credit: Alaskan Dude)

OK, they say facing your fears is good for you. Let’s hope so!

Today I do something which many of you do happily and without thought often – as celebration, as memories, as fun – but for me it is a fear verging on the phobic.

Today I go to get my photograph taken. (shudder)

By a professional photographer – as I hope that has the best chance of avoiding the worst excesses of my terrible lack of photogenic qualities. I do it for the sake of my writing and promoting my writing. It seems it is pretty much essential to show your face to the world on sites like Facebook and Goodreads, and probably also on book marketing sites more generally, so I must overcome a lifetime of photo aversion and play along….

I have – successfully but with some difficulty nonetheless – resisted the temptation to buy a mask to use or a wig to wear….

The photographer has assured me he has Photoshop abilities to help with anything too disturbing – I think I frightened him a bit with how emphatic I was about how I am not photogenic..LOL…so let’s hope he is right about his skill in that regard.  Still I don’t think anything is going to turn me into a supermodel  (except that mask and wig idea…..)

Trust me – I am NOT photogenic. The camera does not love me. I think it actually dislikes me with the same passion that I fear it right back. And what’s worse than the output generally?  The people who say ‘oh that’s a nice photo’ as though it actually looks like me!!! And well it might I suppose, but I am in complete, utter and happy denial about that and I intend to stay right there…I know what I look like when I look at the right angle, under the right lighting, in the mirror..and it is NOT how I look in photos…LOL so I really don’t like thinking people think the photos look good – that’s almost more traumatic than seeing them in the first place, LOL!

So…this is a trauma and a trial, but a necessary one. I shall hopefully find some that work for me and don’t disturb me quite as much as others, and those are the ones I will use. So, in a few weeks time when I have the final proofs you may see the face behind the dragon, so to speak.

If so, be kind. 🙂 🙂

Cheers Helen V

About Helen

I'm drawn to blogging as a way to share ideas and consider what makes us who we are. Whether it's in our working life or our creativity, expression is a means to connect.
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61 Responses to Facing One’s Fears…..

  1. ksbeth says:

    good luck helen, i’m sure you will be pleasantly surprised ) beth

  2. Sis, I just love you more and more….Your honesty here is such a blessing to me. I hate the camera…I avoid it like the plague. I put my photo on my blog because I, too, was told it was a wise thing to do.

    Your beautiful insides will shine right through, I am totally confident of that fact. You are one of the sweetest people I know. I cannot wait to see you. I know I will just love you all the more. I will be praying for you about this.

    • Thank you – I will need those prayers!! Self-image is such a precarious thing. I look back at the (very few)photos I allowed to be taken when I was in my late 20s – mainly in groups of friends – or so and now they don’t seem so bad, but any taken more recently are too close and so I hate them. LOL. I’m one of those people with small features but a big boned face so when I smile my eyes almost disappear and my cheeks look like overblown chipmunks…not a good look, LOL!! 🙂 🙂

      • Well, it sounds rather adorable. I have always thought my eyes, smile and nose were too big. I cringe at the pictures I have shared on mine, but I try not to look to the right or my About page ever. lol I have no pictures of me in my home.

      • Ah, we are so alike! I don’t have any pictures of myself either in my home! the mirror will have to do, because I know how to approach it to get the best affect, LOLOL!! 🙂

        Seriously my small features/big bones situation causes me some odd challenges – for instance it’s almost impossible for me to get sunglass frames that suit – if they are delicate enough for my features they are overwhelmed by my facial structure, and if they suit the facial structure they overwhelm the features…the only ones that seem to work ok, for some reason, are Raybans…

        Ah, the struggles of trying to meet societal beauty standards… 🙂 😉

      • lol…we both need to read my devotional post again for today….we obviously are struggling in this area!! Let me know how it goes, please….you can always email me (its on my blog). I would love that. Big hugs and prayers

      • Will do – my other big challenge for this today is its outdoor photography and it looks like its going to rain…sort of poetic in a way, given my fears,LOL!! 🙂

      • Well, cloudy weather can make for pretty pictures….the lighting is not as bright and harsh. I hope it goes well….I know it will!

      • Yep, lets hop for cloudy rather than rain itself…softer lighting will help, LOLOLOL! 🙂

      • lolol…..Hrmpf…….you will do great!! Rain or Shine! Silly goose!! 🙂

      • One last thing….check out my Goodreads section….SO COOL!!!

      • Just did! Wow, cool, thank you so much!!

        Also just back from the photographer – he was lovely – took photos outside around the National Gallery grounds and some were very fitting for the novel really. He seemed to agree with me re the photogenic thing, particularly my fear of losing my eyes when I smile, but was very sweet about it and I felt very relaxed in his company. So I am sure the result will be the very best it can be, and you can’t really ask more than that!! 🙂

      • I cannot wait to see!!! 🙂

    • Oh, and your lovely spirit shines through in your photo – you look very pretty. I can understand, though, if for any reason you feel it isn’t truly representative of you as I know that feeling when seeing photos of myself, but to someone who only otherwise knows you via our blogs, your kindness and truly good spirit shine through in a very lovely face! 🙂 xxxx

  3. I am with you on this one although, when I first saw the image posted, I was going to be with you on that too! I dislike clowns. 9 I realise it’s not a clown now!) They scare me!
    As for photos, the only ‘reasonable’ photos I possess are of two kinds. One, I was relaxed and entered into the spirit, one example being my wedding day. Those aren’t bad. The other group of acceptable can be classified as ‘complete accident’. I think I actually look ok. I probably think I look better than I actually do!! But, photos and I are not friends. I have some absolute belters of horror and, like you, do not appreciate the comparison drawn between photo and reality!
    Professional, you say? Photoshop? Mull, mull.x

    • LOL, thank you. oddly enough one of the very few photos of me I liked once was on my drivers license a few years ago…and they are notorious for being awful, so I know what you mean about the totally accidental good photo from time to time. Hopefully I either have such a happy accident today or the professional photographer can make up for it. 🙂

      • Let me know. I might think about it. Although……it’s never happened often enough for me.x

      • I’ll let you know how it goes, and whether he uses photoshop and whether it helps..all a bit of a big, scary adventure for me, LOLOL! 🙂

      • Adventures keep you young. I am so overdue one!! 🙂 x

      • Just got back from the shoot – the photographer was lovely and he said he’d try some photo shop and some black and white to soften the photos, so I think he agreed with me re the photogenic thing! In fact I said to him my eyes disappear in my chipmunk cheeks when I smile and we tried a smile and he said ‘oh, I see what you mean’…but that was strangely comforting and validating, LOL. I am sure he will produce the very best that is possible with the subject – I’ll let you know how I go when I see them in a few days time. 🙂

      • Sorry, but I’m laughing at his, ‘I see what you mean’.
        Bastard! I hope you hit him with your handbag. 🙂 x

      • LOL, it really was comforting he agreed to be honest – people always think one exaggerates about such things but I actually don’t, LOL. It is what it is. It also meant he didn’t try to make me smile in other photos beyond ‘just the merest trace of the beginning of a smile’ which turned out fine it seems. It gave me confidence that he got what my concerns were. LOL. 🙂

      • He’s booked! But, I’m still bringing my handbag! 🙂 x

      • He’s booked! But, I’m still bringing my handbag! 🙂 x

  4. Good luck and stay strong.

  5. Malcolm Miller says:

    If that’s your biggest source of anxiety, lucky you! Compared to heartbreak, it’s less than a pinprick…

    • Probably true, but phobias are what they are — by definition they are usually way out of proportion in any proper estimation, but nevertheless almost crippling in the moment they occur. I’ve had heartache in the past, but the photo fear remains all through life. But yes,I know it sounds over-blown, hence the humor I tried to put in the post. 🙂

  6. I am you. Or I was. Figuratively. 🙂 A friend connected me with a professional photographer who completely took charge. In doing so, she made me feel comfortable beyond all anticipation. She took her time, was engaging, made me laugh (even at myself and my silly discomfort), and took some amazing photos. What proved quite helpful was having a friend join me when we sorted through and selected from among proofs (over 150 of them). A strong suggestion, Helen, check the baseless phobia at the door and enter into an experience you will end up appreciating. 🙂

    • Thanks Eric – the experience was very nice really (the real trauma is usually seeing the results and I only saw a few he showed me as we went along and they were very nice compared to most I’ve seen of me). The photographer was lovely and understood and agreed with some of my concerns re smiling in photos given my facial structure/features and so forth, which made me feel very confident he will get the best result possible. I’ll never be a fashion model, but then I’m a bit too old for that anyway, LOL!! 🙂 )

  7. I’m not in the least bit photogenic but I think it’s down to the cameras….. 😉

    • LOL – that must be it! I swear I’m not photogenic for still photography – oddly enough I look fine on video, so its something to do with being still for some reason…perhaps when you move the shadows and light move with you and balance out, but when you are still it gets captured and exaggerated or something…who knows… 🙂

  8. The camera is your friend! Photography is a funny thing, but the key is to take a bazillion photos because I promise you, that you will at least like 1 of the bunch. That’s how I deal with it. 😀

    Also, congratulations on facing your fear! xx

  9. Paul Davis says:

    Have you seen some of the other writer photos out there 😉 You’ll be fine. I’m sure you look great.

  10. feralc4t says:

    Having my photo taken is fairly low on my list of things that make me happy too. Kudos for going for it 🙂

  11. Bumba says:

    I had this gravatar image photo of myself done by a photographer. So, you see, they can make you look pretty good. Really I should have shaved earlier in the day…

  12. Good luck. It’s an important step.

  13. Shainbird says:

    I sense your anguish, this is understandable, but what does an object that does not feel know about beauty? It is the mind behind the camera that realizes a flower. Know, dear Helen, that you are lovely to all of us.

  14. Awww Helen I hate the camera as well and like you I feel that rarely does a picture end up baring any resemblance to me. Many times I really do look genuinely deformed my cheekbones are quite pronounced and sometimes they look really fake like botched surgery fake! Or they don’t look the same so I like like a weird Frankenstein creature. I always have one eye that is at least 3 times bigger than the other which gives me that adorable Quasimodo look that all women strive for lol I hate the camera. I once got professional photos well my mom did as a gift but she couldn’t bare to take them and I was 12 so she made me do it. I looked exactly like Scully in X-files which is weird because I was 12 and looked like a full grown woman and well I unfortunately do not like Sculy lol Let’s not even talk about my body i workout and I am pretty slim but in pictures I gain 30 pounds or so and often I get the humpback to complete my Quasimodo look. I look so much like Quasimodo in most of my picture that i am surprised I haven’t been quarantined in a bell tower lol You are a beautiful person Helen I hope your photos reflect that =)

    • Ah, we are kindred spirits with similar woes from our time in front of a camera lens my friend! The photographer today basically agreed with me about most of the faults I feel show up on film, and in an odd way that was really comforting and encouraging. At least I know I’m not deluded and the camera does do odd things to me! So I understand and share your pain! Perhaps it is better to look better in real life than in photos, rather than the reverse…we can comfort ourselves with that!! 🙂 🙂 Oh, and you are beautiful too, regardless of whatever the camera says!! 🙂

  15. Gwen Bristol says:

    I nominated you for a WordPress Family Award. 🙂

  16. behind every dragon lies a beautiful lady

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