Behind the lens (December Reflections 18)

This December Reflections prompt is not my favourite topic: Favourite Photo of Me. Made all the more difficult by the fact that the blog will not allow me to upload images right now.

I confess that personal photographs are not my strong suite. I do not have a favourite photograph of myself – not this year or any other year. I am not comfortable with my appearance and I avoid both the camera lens and mirrors. I avoid going into shops that have mirrors. I rarely agree to look at photographs in which I appear. I refuse to open my own passport. If I take a selfie then it will almost always be a shadow (I use a shadow image as my avatar on some sites) but I do have a couple of mirror shots where much of my self is obscured by the presence of my camera between self and mirror. Even so these shots have usually been subjected to some extreme editing before sharing – not to enhance my beauty, more a sort of blurring of the edges, a camouflage…

I will in fact go to great lengths to get out of the way when a camera lens is pointed in my direction. I feel far more comfortable behind the lens, thank you very much.


I have my reasons, I believe, for what amounts to almost a proper phobia. It is something that I have been meaning to write about in my Left Luggage project and I am almost tempted to bare my soul here and now. Almost – but not quite ready. Besides, it would be a long post and full of angst and I don’t think that is very correct for this December Reflections exercise.

I do feel an urge to summarise or encapsulate the problem but am uncertain about how to do that without descending into reams of self pity. Shall I offer you a short list of somewhat enigmatic bullet points? A few items that underlie my lack of self-esteem?

  • Mother’s mantra “You are fat, ugly, bad-tempered and nobody will ever love you
  • Two Ex-husbands who both took their toll on my self-esteem.
  • Twin sister (the pretty one – I was the “tug”)
  • A very crushing comment from someone, a professional, who really should have known better and it’s a long story but the summary was that I was “completely unphotogenic” – targeted at a girl in her early teens, this was I think the basis of my camera lens avoidance.
  • Another “Mother Moment” when I was teaching myself to draw and was attempting a self-portrait: “I think you flatter yourself

That will do for now.

I do feel that it is a problem. I am very much aware that if I die before my partner, then he has no images of me to keep when I am gone. Not a one. I have some of him, not many as he is also camera shy but I do have them. I believe that I am being unfair in not having any photos of myself for him to keep.

As I cannot upload photos here at this time, I went looking elsewhere and hit paydirt.

There is a set of images here from a Camera Club competition topic called “Myself” and if you care to look you might find that I depict myself in many ways that do not involve having to see myself, I just made myself laugh when noting that the one photograph of me that is included, I have entitled “Exposed and Uncertain“. Says a lot, doesn’t it?

Hang on… I have an idea! The WordPress Media Library!

Here is a selfie that I found from a previous blog post
Mother and Daughter

If I have a favourite photograph of myself then it has to be this one. I am obviously not too uncomfortable with this one as it has been shared in the blog before. I like it because it has my beautiful daughter in it. I see her rather than myself… It’s a photograph of Vicky, in my mind. Also I think that as it was such a positive occasion – my graduation day with my Open University Degree – it makes me feel better about myself. 1993, if I remember correctly. Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

More? This set gives me the horrors! (From a previous dieting fad 2014)

That’s enough of this silly game. I think that I need a lie down!

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