Their camera is aimed at me.
Be it a total stranger, a family member or a portrait photograher, the same thing happens for me. I feel awkward and outside of my skin. I feel like I need to pose. So I stay as still as I can and wait for it to be over.
But when my camera is aimed at myself it is different.
I set it down and while I push the timer button or get ready to press my remote, I take a second to do a little silly dance to shake out the nerves. I adjust my clothing and then move in a way that feels like me. I press the button and settle into the experience. I may close my eyes and move or look right into the camera.
I am in my own body, not outside of myself.
I am in control, not out of control.
I am the narrator, not just the subject.
I am embodied, at home and enjoying the experience.
And the photo shows it.
So does the one that someone else has taken. I can see my stress, thoughts of ‘What are they going to do with this photo’ and I didn’t take a moment at all to check in with my body and I can see it in my body language. Sound familiar?
I know this isn’t just my own experience. Except I think it is easy to think that because it is so vulnerable to be in front of someone else’s camera, that aiming our own camera at ourselves would be even more scary.
The more I’ve been using self-portraiture as tool for healing, the more I find that I can remember to take a second while they are getting ready to take the photo to just notice my feet on the ground and take a deep breath. Often that is enough to change the experience of being photographed and put me at ease again.
The difference between the two does feel like it is about power.
That somehow when someone else is holding the camera we hand our power over to them.
Yet that is the same reason why taking the camera into our own hands and taking a photo can be so empowering. It is a reclamation of personal power.
I see it so often in Be Your Own Beloved when the participants get to that one activity which for them flips that switch and they realize they are indeed in control of how they see themselves. I can see that embodiment and reclamation of personal power start to appear in their photos. They stand taller, they get braver and I start to see more of them appear in their photos, without apology.
Now, I do want to share that most portrait photographers I know…you can absolutely see in their photos that they put the client at ease, that they are deeply aware of this power and create a space where the client feels deeply safe.
I guess the thing I want to really share is that we can also create that experience for ourselves too. We can create that sacred space with our own camera too.
I want this for you, for me, for all of us.
Let’s transform the experience of being photographed from a place of fear or discomfort to a place of playfulness and openness, starting by doing this for ourselves!
We’re going to be exploring this in How to Rock a Selfie Photo Shoot starts soon, October 6th! The next session of Be Your Own Beloved starts November 1st! If you have any questions about which class would be the best fit for you, don’t hesitate to use the contact form and connect with me!