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.