Say Cheese

The fear of public speaking is common knowledge. But I have been pondering a not so common apprehension, that of having a picture taken.

It is fascinating that we live in an age where cameras are as commonplace as people, yet some folks manage to go years at a time without having a photograph taken (at least consciously).

For whatever it’s worth, fame is associated with photos. Watching a press conference these days is unbearable. Each reporter sprays a camera as if it were a machine gun. I wonder, is it possible to make a massive global impact in the modern era without being subject to some mug shots?

On the flip side of this coin are the BILLIONS of selfies taken each year. To me, this is an alarming statistic. Selfies are a counterfeit attempt to turn inward. The camera may be facing the user, but only for a brief moment, and ultimately in exchange for the selfish currency of “likes, shares, comments, and downloads.”

“Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths.”

– David Foster Wallace

As a portrait photographer myself, I naturally find portraits to be the happy medium. I love to look at photos of my grandfather where he painstakingly set up a tripod and timer to capture a memory on film for the sake of influencing future posterity. A couple of these images are worth more than 1,000 selfies.


(1) When a camera is pointed your way, “say cheese”.

(2) If you point your camera towards yourself more than at other people, consider evaluating your life and motives.

(3) If you are out for a payload of fame, remember that as fame increases so do the flashes in your eyes. Eventually, you’ll need a few kazillion photos – taken by other people. Google your name, if you find a bunch of pics that you took yourself…I have some bad news. Try redirecting your efforts to add value to society FIRST and THEN see what happens.

(4) Find something to say “no” to. Determine where you draw your line in the sand. If people can go a lifetime saying, “get that camera out of my face” you can too. Maybe your “camera” is debt, an unfavorable habit, or egocentric behavior. Whatever it is, act immediately, and tell it to get out of your face!

Photo by John Lucia

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