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    Volume 11 |Issue 50| December 21, 2012 |


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Having Your Picture Taken


It goes without saying that the next best thing to the narcissism involved in looking at a mirror is to take a picture of yourself and then scrutinise it for as long as is bearable.

But it is when you are getting your picture taken that you realise just how hard professional models/actors work when they face the camera. It all seems like a piece of cake when the pretty girl forms that sultry pout or that alluring hint of a smile that drives all age groups of human males crazy. But just try aping that expression the next time somebody takes a picture and you will see what a challenge it can be. Suddenly, the desire to squint, blink and scratch that unreachable place on your back, becomes overpowering. It is also a dilemma what to do with one's hands: should they be folded in front, should one be left hanging with the other one on the hip, both hands on the hips - the possibilities are confusingly endless. Some people think showing the victory sign is very cool, especially when they do it over someone else's head but they just end up looking rather dorky and puerile.

The main point is that it's just really hard to perfectly pose.
Some of us hate taking pictures. It is with great agony that we have come to accept the fact that we just don't have the 'right' bone structure (basically no bones, only flesh in the strategic points) that our double chins defiantly stick out at the sound of every click and our jaw line had gone on a permanent sabbatical soon after our twenties left for good. Sad but true, the reality is that no amount of sucking in your cheeks and sticking out the neck to tauten the jaw, will help. All you will have accomplished is to look like some creature that people wouldn't mind if it went extinct, not to mention the shocked expression of the photographer. So reluctantly you must bear the torture of being photographed, for nostalgia's sake, only to be traumatised at the results - the fifty percent extra of yourself, the bald patch on your head, the paunch you thought you had so carefully hidden, the Panda eyes, shiny nose and double chin - all exposed for the world, or Facebookland, to see.

At this time you must tell yourself repeatedly - you look better in person. In fact when people say someone is really 'photogenic', what they really mean is that the poor fool is quite ordinary looking in real life and just happens to have high cheekbones and a good make up artist that combines to make them look good for the camera.

Speaking of make up artists - it is an interesting phenomenon that these days brides are willing to pay a fortune to get made up by a professional beautician not because they want to look their best for their man. It is so that they look like princesses (at least in their perception) in the videos and photos that will remain immortalised in the wedding album. The Geisha look may make the groom rethink his life-partner choice for a few seconds but that is a small price to pay when the pictures come out with the bride looking all salon-finished and glamorous.

Vanity of course, is often more powerful than common sense and may compel an individual to become obsessed with having his/her picture taken. These individuals will have hundreds of pictures of themselves in various garb and situations but always looking extremely glamorous - like the women in Hindi serials who keep their eye shadow and lipstick on even in deep slumber.

One commonality between the vain and the painfully self-conscious is that when they are photographed they have a set expression on their faces, one that has been carefully practiced exclusively for picture-taking. Some people hate showing their teeth even if they are perfect and hence that rather pained grimace in every single photo. Some only show their 'good side' of the face or always tilt the head to appear amicable.

Others don't smile at all and manage to give that belligerent, haunted look even in their beach holiday photos. It reminds one of the old days when people thought it was silly to smile when being photographed, thus the stiff, stern faces in those black and white portraits.

They probably thought the shrouded box thing would blow up any minute.


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