Manners: Pictures

Millennials hate getting their pictures taken.  I know this isn’t 100% true but the number of my peers who say “I hate getting pictures taken of myself” seems to vastly outnumber those who get excited (or hell even tolerate it).

I have no idea if there are actual statistics on this.  I know I get to see all kinds of articles about narcissistic millennials obsessed with selfies.  But 1 person taking 10,000 selfies is not the same as all 80 million millennials taking them “all the time.”  If all millennials were really that narcissistic it would be even worse.  Really.  People were obsessed with their own image hundreds of years before my generation.

Anywho.  Back to my point about “most millennials” hating getting their pictures taken.  I have decided this is because of poor manners.  Not bad manners, but certainly not good manners either.

I realized sometime between high school and college that the picture wasn’t about me.  Even when I was the only person in the picture – it wasn’t for me and it wasn’t even about me.  Pictures capture the emotion of that moment.  Think about the best pictures you have seen – did they invoke emotion?

They did for me. And looking at pictures of friends, I would realize how much I loved seeing their smiles and how much I appreciated them allowing me to capture that moment. And over time I realized I was denying my friends and family the same joy.

I hate myself in pictures. I hate that I’m overweight. I hate how unflattering the camera makes me feel.  But you know, there are pictures now that my mom pulls up on FB memories and I  look at myself and cringe – but it does evoke the memory of that day and the fun and the laughter…

This picture was taken in 2011 – it is completely not flattering, but you know – I remember the day my whole family helped my parents build those raised planting beds and put in dirt and fertilizer.  And I don’t care I looked awful and was a mess and literally ankle deep in dirt.  It’s an awesome memory and I’m glad I wasn’t hiding from the camera anymore.

I don’t know what memories from High School I have lost because I hid.  I don’t know which friends will have forgotten me because I hid. But I can say that now – I don’t hide.  I won’t hide from my friends and I won’t hide from the camera.  Because it isn’t about me. It isn’t about me looking good.

Pictures are about allowing yourself to participate.  Pictures are about allowing others a piece of you.  That old superstition about camera stealing your soul?  You know – I think there might be truth there.  They steal a little bit of you, but it isn’t a bad thing.  It preserves that piece and you can come back to it whenever you need a renewal.  Your friends and family and children can come and see that shining, wonderful piece of you.  And they will feel the joy they felt the day they held the camera.  You will share that joy with them again every time they see it.

So stop hiding from the camera.  When others want to snap your picture – let them.  This is like Jesus’s loaves and fishes – the more you give away; somehow, you end up with more yourself.