There are two kinds of people in the world: those who are photogenic and those who are camera shy.
Did you know that there are at least three definitions of photogenic (all adjectives)?
- forming an attractive subject for photography or having features that look well* in a photograph: a photogenic face.
- (Biology) producing or emitting light, as certain bacteria; luminiferous; phosphorescent.
- (Medical) produced or caused by light, as a skin condition.
|This is my mom and dad on one of their|
first dates. Don't you love that dress?
(Red and white, of course.)
My mom, on the other hand, has hardly ever taken a photo that does her justice. She's a lovely woman — petite and well-dressed with perfectly fine features, including blue eyes and dimples. Why, then, does she have such difficulty getting a good picture? Part of it may be that she wears glasses. No matter how trendy and cool your glasses are today, by the time you look at your picture five years from now, they will look dated (and probably ridiculous).
My children are all beautiful (of course), but one of them (I won't say which one — OK, the middle boy, but don't tell anyone) has not taken a bad or even slightly not great picture since he was a very chubby baby. It doesn't matter if he's smiling or not, or looking at the photographer or not, or even if he's happy about getting his picture taken or not. The boy is simply photogenic.
When I was in grade school, I knew a perfect girl named Mary Davies. Her name was perfect. Her freckles were perfect. Her knee socks never fell down. There were only two things about Mary Davies that were not perfect. The first one I tried not to take personally, but for some reason, every year Mary Davies got the flu and threw up on my desk. The second imperfection was that for the six years we were in class together, Mary Davies never took a good school picture. One year her eyes were closed. One year her always perfect hair was sticking straight up. One year her nose was bright red. I hope her parents didn't rely on harried school photographers and occasionally took her to get a decent professional photo taken.
I used to be pretty photogenic, by my dad's original definition. I smiled, I looked at the camera, and usually my pictures turned out all right. Even my driver's license picture taken by the notoriously unforgiving cameras at the DMV usually were pretty good. In fact, one was so good that I worked really hard at not getting a single moving violation so I could renew my license by mail — twice — which meant I got to keep that great photo for 12 years.
Suddenly, however, I find that whatever photogenic quality I may once have possessed has completely evaporated. I look even more overweight than I feel, my smile isn't what it used to be and I always seem to be at an awkward angle. Maybe I'm just getting old. Damn, I wish I still had that driver's license. I could use it for my avatar. Or maybe I'm still photogenic, but only as it pertains to definitions #2 and #3. On the other hand, a speaker at my writers group advised us to get our author photos taken even if we weren't quite ready to be published: "You'll never look younger than you do right now."
What about you? Click here to tell us whether the camera loves you or hates you.
*A point of grammar — do you look "well" in a photo, or do you look "good"? I always thought if someone told you that you look well, it meant healthy. What say you?