Stepping out from behind the camera

5th March 2018

I’m taking part in an Instagram challenge this month – #marchmeetthemaker.  The first prompt is you.  So 156 photographs later (truly, I’m not kidding) and this is the best that I can do.  Of course I could have used an existing picture, but I hate them all!  I am at my least comfortable behind the camera.  Something odd happens to my face and, self consciousness makes it do odd things.  The odd thing is that I’m not unhappy with my appearance in general.  When I look in the mirror I’m happy enough with what I see.  When I look at pictures of myself, for the most part, I do not recognise the person in them.  It isn’t the same face that looks back from the mirror but rather an awkward and uncomfortable version of me.

I know lots of other people feel the same and I suppose the question is, does it matter?  If you are happy to be the person taking the pictures then do you really need to appear in them.  Well I think maybe you do.  My children love looking through old photographs.  They like to see themselves and the other people too.  I don’t want to become conspicuous by my absence.  Missing from the family archives.  I think it’s all too easily done.


And then there is the online me.  From a business point of view I almost certainly need to be more present.  I am a small business selling online,  I very much am my brand and I think customers probably need to connect with the person behind the name.  After all the joy of buying from a small business is that human connection and I know I love seeing images of makers pop up in my Instagram feed.  If I don’t appear in any of my Social Media feeds or website then perhaps people will feel unsure about purchasing.  It might make me seem detached and less personal and I don’t want that at all.

I think this portrait discomfort has crept upon me.  When I look back on childhood photos and even my wedding day, I can see the real me looking out.  It’s not because I’ve aged but just become more self-conscious in front of the lens.  Perhaps a combination of lack of practice and a certain vulnerability too.


I took Xanthe Berkeley’s Make Films Course last year and she emphasises the importance of appearing in your own films.  I think she’s right and actually I’ve found that I don’t mind seeing myself on film.  When my face and body are moving they look more like me.  Perhaps the answer is more film then, or maybe those Harry Potter style moving portraits!  Yes, I think that might be the solution.


I love these pictures of you! And I totally agree, we need to be in front of the camera more. My sister always hated having her picture taken and as a result, we have no photographs of her from when she was in her twenties. It’s like she disappeared for that time, so we need to show we were around if we want to look back on it all later. Great post.

That’s really interesting Zoe, I’ve really noticed it looking back on photographs from a few years ago. So often I’m the one behind the camera taking the family photos and therefore absent. It’s only now, with hindsight, that I realise how important it is to appear in that family history. I’m making much more of an effort now. It’s still uncomfortable but I am beginning to feel more at ease and I do like looking back and seeing my presence!

Well now, it is good to see you looking cheeky in the last shot!

Aww, thank you. Haha, I rather like being called cheeky.


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