Say Cheese!

Pictures of ourselves are so important, or at least that’s what we’re taught. Remember picture day in elementary school? Everyone made sure to look their best. We all wore shirts and hairstyles that our parents chose for us. Ones we didn’t wear any other day of the year.

And when the photographer showed up to take our picture, they would urge us to say “Cheese!” For if we did, our face would naturally mould into a perfect smile, so we could show our baby teeth to the world.

Speaking of “Cheese”, what if you’re lactose intolerant? I’m not, but what if I were? Or what if I were allergic to cheese? Or what if cheese brought back a traumatic experience, like dropping it on the floor and not picking it up within five seconds? You think I’m going to smile?

And yet these photographers tell us to say “Cheese” as if it’s a universally happy word, like “rainbow”, “puppy”, and “lollipop”.

Every time we say “Cheese” for the camera, we don’t even say it normally. We all say “Cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeese” and hold the ‘e’ for as long as we can. As if our fake smile will disappear if we stop making the noise.

If you’re going to tell us to say a food, make it something other than cheese. Why not pizza? Because it doesn’t give us a perfect smile? Maybe, but it does put a twinkle in our eye. A TWINKLE.

I mentioned fake smiles. That’s what they are. They aren’t natural. A natural smile, to me, is when someone says something funny and you can’t help but laugh. Thus, a smile is created.

So, Mr. Photographer, why don’t you tell some jokes? Crack us up. Be a part-time comedian.

No, none of that. It’s “sit up straight, eyes forward, tilt your head three-quarters of an inch to the left at a 47 degree angle…nope…too far, tilt back this way a bit, perfect, hold it, hold it, smile, say cheese, let’s take another one, oh no you moved your head a millimetre to the left, say cheese. And we’re done. Next rugrat…I mean, kid.”

Today I went to a take a passport photo. It was great. The guy told me to sit down, sit up straight, look forward, and not smile. That’s how passport photos are taken. They capture us while we look bored and borderline scary. I might dress up as myself for Halloween this year.

I loved it.

I didn’t have to fake a smile. I didn’t have to put my head forward to combat any possible double chins, I didn’t have to hold a smile on my face for a minute. I didn’t have to pretend to be thrilled and excited. I didn’t have to say cheese. I just sat there as dull as possible.

It was great.

I find that people care so much about how they look in a picture. Especially pictures of themselves on cards in their wallet. People are hesitant to show off their driver’s license, health card, and even student card. “I don’t like how I look in the picture.”

So? Why are we so self-conscious about a picture that captured less than one second of our life?

Some people get mad at their friends for putting pictures of them on social media. “I look terrible, take that photo down now!”

In reality, they don’t look terrible. It’s a normal picture of them genuinely smiling at the camera. Not good enough, I guess.

Have you ever seen someone take a selfie? It’s the funniest, saddest, and most frustrating thing. Everyone is an actor when it comes to selfies.

It takes a nanosecond to take the picture. It takes half a second to decide it’s not good enough. It takes 0.8 seconds for them to fix their face or their hair, and then they take another one. How many pictures of yourself do you need to take before you’re satisfied?

Hello, you look the same in every picture!

I don’t get it. I don’t know why people take pictures of themselves anyways. If it’s only for “likes” on social media then that’s so very sad.

Remember photo albums? Where are my fellow 90s kids? We were the last of an era. I have photo albums of my entire childhood. You know what’s great about them? I get to look at them by myself, without needing someone else to “like” them or “comment” on them.

They bring back so many memories. And guess what, none of them were of me holding a camera to take a selfie. I know, I’m weird.

The current generation seems to be growing up with photo albums on Facebook, rather than photo albums in their closet. Perhaps I’m wrong. I hope I am.

That should be fun in twenty years when they want to show their kids some old photos. “Hold on, I have to sign in to Facebook. Cover your eyes while I scroll past the pictures I don’t want you to see.”

I don’t know. It’s just weird. Pictures were so important when I was growing up. Now, everyone is an amateur photographer looking for the next great photo to post on social media with a filter. And if they don’t use a filter, you’ll know about it.

Also, people don’t say “Cheese” when they take a selfie.

Selfies bother me, but if you’re going to do it, you better say “Cheese!” Respect tradition.

About Paul

I think of my blog as an all-you-can-read buffet. There's something for everyone and complimentary mints at the door as you leave.
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24 Responses to Say Cheese!

  1. Barb Knowles says:

    Ok that did the trick! Laughing every paragraph while my husband looked at me like I was insane (at least I didn’t wake him up). One of my students calls them “selfishes.” Isn’t that great?! And I do EXACTLY that when I take a selfie or am in any photo. I say omg and fix my hair again. And, yes, look the same. The best was your description of sit up straight, turn your head slightly etc. I laughed out loud because talk about an unnatural pose! And yet it makes us look natural. Something is definitely wrong with that. Oh, just an editing issue….you spelled millimeter wrong.
    As always, a GREAT post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Selfishes! I’m so mad I didn’t think of that first. I always mixed up the photographers instructions. How was I supposed to know the difference between a turn of the head and a tilt? And why did it always feel like my head was sideways.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Barb Knowles says:

        And our shoulders were wrenched. And who has EVER sat with one hand oddly folded over the other, which were on a thigh, that was turned in a different direction from our neck? I remember my daughter’s pictures coming in when she was in like 2nd grade. I was so happy and couldn’t wait to see them (frame them, send them to everyone I’ve ever said hi to). And, next to her mouth, was grape jelly. Not a glob, but not a drop either. I couldn’t believe it. What teacher or photographer wouldn’t have said, excuse me, honey, but don’t you want to WIPE THE JELLY OFF OF YOUR FACE????? Geesh.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        THE HAND FOLD! Yes! So awkward. Grape Jelly haha. The photographer probably that it was a fashion statement. Or they had been saying cheese all day they forgot that other foods exist.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Barb Knowles says:

        I didn’t think of that. Jelly doesn’t make for a good fake smile.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. datingflops says:

    When my children were younger, on school photo day the photographer would tell the children to say “elephant undies!”. That always made them smile/laugh. Have to agree about the albums and selfies, but what’s up with those stupid duck faces??

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      hahaha “elephant undies” just made me laugh. It’s perfect. I think people just want to be animals, honestly. Puppy dog eyes, duck face…next thing will be elephant ears.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. When I got to high school aged 11, they made us say ‘sex’. we looked more confused and awkward than anything else.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. moxieluster says:

    Hated having my picture taken back then and still do now, I do not mind taking a selfie though I find it fun, but maybe that’s because I do special effects make-up on myself and turn myself into zombies, skeletons, ect. But also because I am a bitch to myself… (Did I just type that.. Yes.. Yes I did) I really am a bitch to myself. I hate on me more then anyone ever has, and I have a problem with my self-image, so I am always the one recording videos, or taking pictures at family events, it is a rare occasion that I am anywhere in a picture, but I have been like that since I can remember.

    It isn’t really that I hate natural pictures of myself, because I don’t.. I hate all pictures hahahahaa.
    But I CAN see where you are coming from, though I do not necessarily agree. It is easy to print your own pictures off at home now and put them up if people wanted to. Or even paying 10 cents at walmart per picture that you are printing off, so I suppose people prefer it that way? I am not sure. Maybe people tell themselves they will get around to printing it off but for now they are storing it there.

    I personally prefer keeping my pictures on the internet and printing them off when needed. But that is just me. I also love taking “selfies” of me and my friends or daughter, but again that is just me. Maybe I hold a different view because we are not the same age, and what you are used to died off when I started getting into taking pictures and such? Not sure how old you are though..

    But anyways, I enjoyed reading this even if we share different views, sorry for rambling!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      No worries, I like a good ramble!
      I’m 23, so everything in my post is probably a result of me witnessing too many selfies from my friends on social media. You make a good point with printing off pictures…I hadn’t thought of that. It sounds like you take selfies with a purpose, I can appreciate that. Maybe I’ve just seen to many people stop what they’re doing, and take a million pictures of themselves that has jaded my opinion of the whole thing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • moxieluster says:

        No I am older, but maybe I just view it differently hahaha..

        But I must agree that people should not consume themselves with tons of selfies, that is crossing the line, and those people are called “Selfie Whores.” Especially if you are hanging out with someone, “Oh hold on I know we are supposed to be hanging out but I need to go take about 100 pictures just so I can have ONE good picture….”

        Now that is stupid..and irritating.. haha.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        YES! That is the point I was trying to make but I think I failed at it haha. Maybe I’ll just copy and paste your assessment into my post.

        Liked by 1 person

      • moxieluster says:

        I don’t think you failed at it, I think I failed at reading and interpreting which happens sometimes when you are reading a blog post, tending to a Four Year Old, and trying to eat something real quick all at once lmao. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        You’re forgiven! hahaha

        Liked by 1 person

      • moxieluster says:

        Yay!! Hahaha. I suck at multitasking..

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I eat vegetarian cheese! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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