When I was in college, digital photography hadn’t been invented yet. Photoshop was still in the imagination of it’s creator, Thomas Knoll, and mobile phones were owned by presidents, FBI agents, and only the technologically adept of the world’s wealthiest people. People only took pictures on occasion, unless they were photographers, and there was no way to instantly delete something you snapped.
Photos were very different back then. Here’s one I have of me and a friend in college. I’m not crazy about how I look in this photo, but I obviously kept it because it captured a fun visit with a sweet friend. Until today, this photo probably has only been seen by a handful of people… maybe (kinda doubt it) I took the initiative to show my friend after I had the film developed. I honestly don’t remember. But maybe because I didn’t even consider who might see it, I was free to be more myself in the picture. I didn’t feel pressure to look cute, thin, pouty or seductive. When it was taken, there was no worry about posting it or who else might post it for the world to see.
Boy have times changed. Does anyone look NORMAL or CANDID anymore in photos? Seriously, I feel myself cringing as I happen upon the selfies from girls across various social media platforms. I see lots of sultry looks, taken at the most flattering angle. MOST FLATTERING. Even when the photo is taken by someone else… I’ve noticed women, especially young women, have this certain POSE down. Do you know it? Hands on hips, shoulders back, knee popped.
Honestly, I’ve done it, and you probably have too. I recently went to an event and was kind of disturbed about how many photos came home on my iPhone of me in some version of that pose. It actually made me feel pretty embarrassed and super vain. I posted some of them and was thankful that it was a silly event, so all in all, I didn’t feel too narcissistic. It was all in good fun.
But… You realize people don’t naturally stand that way unless there’s a camera, right? Ever. The hand on hip thing is to make your arms look skinnier, but nobody thinks about it unless photos are being taken. Somewhere between 2008-2014, the camera phones turned us all into posers… yes, posers. POSING like… um, models? Weird. When did models take over the world? Why are we trying to be like them? We’re NOT them. Why am I worried if my arms look skinny enough? Who cares? I’m not going to lose a Covergirl job over flabby arms. It does not affect anything other than my own sanity.
Here’s a curious piece of info for you. When I went online looking for that little diagram on the bottom of the page, using key words like “posing, photography, diagram,” MOST of the images pulled up were highly inappropriate, and a ton of them were teaching pornographic pose technique. Interesting. What’s the connection, I wondered? Pornography is objectification. In the porn industry, cameras are not capturing life’s special moments. They’re capturing body parts and completely unrealistic situations. Poses.
I’m not saying if your hand is on your hip and your knee is popped you’re acting inappropriately or objectifying yourself. I’m just saying this… let’s think about WHY we act the way we do. Let’s refuse to follow the cues of online photos and be led around by our insecurity. Just like Cobie Caillat inspired women to go without make-up and actually “like” themselves, let’s be inspired to take photos that capture REAL LIFE. Who cares about the most flattering angle? Who cares about impressing anyone? Take a picture to remember a beautiful moment or a beautiful you… just being you.
Not a being a model.