"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." - Vincent Van Gogh

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Too Fat to be Photographed?

A friend passed on a great article today written by a photographer who shied away from having her own pictures taken due to her weight. It's a great read.... Here's the link. http://myfriendteresablog.com/so-youre-feeling-too-fat-to-be-photographed/

The above linked article deals with accepting your body but also understanding all the great things that you bring to the world and making sure that you record your time on this earth with joy. If you can't get beyond the cringing stage I have some good tips for you to look thinner in your photographs.

My first tip is find a good professional photographer! A well trained photographer knows how to make you look good, after all if you don't like your pictures, they won't make any money!

The second tip is a high camera angle. You can do it yourself with your cell phone. Hold the camera high above your head and shoot down. This will force your chin up and double chins will vanish while your eyes look bigger. Also if you turn your face a bit to the side a bit it helps even more. You all have a good side and a not as good side (notice I didn't say BAD side) so see which one that is by experimenting. In this picture taken of me last summer on my birthday I was 30 pounds heavier than I am now but because of the angle, you would never know.

Below the two pictures were taken on the same day - look at the difference in my face.... one looks quite round and the other more chiseled. The strength of my smile also played a big role in the look of the image. I wasn't able to get the best camera angle since I was trying to get the words of the sign in the picture too.

I semi hate to admit it, but heh - I've used "liquify" on my photoshop to the point that I've become quite good at widdling away quite a few pounds not only in myself but in others. The truth is that people are NOT the size of their bodies, it's just a symptom of the standard American diet and lack of activity. Maybe it's a sign of their age and sedentary job. It does not reflect their spirit or their true essence so when I take someone's portrait the first thing I do is find their most complementary angles. If taken with others, I will use a bit of body blocking, I will shoot from a higher angle and if need be I will tuck in the waist on my photoshop. I might even slim the arms or do something about a bit of extra flesh on the face. No one has ever said "you made me look thinner". They have naturally thought that they looked like that because in the mirror - they do! 

I had a personal trainer say to me once that it was important to take pictures of yourself as heavy because our minds do not adjust to our larger size, we still think we are smaller than we are. It's kind of a reverse anorexic issue.

Last summer I took some great liberties on my own body for the above art piece. I love it and to me, it captures the true essence of my nature. My parents took a look at it and commented on how that image wasn't me... but it really WAS me and the truth is, at this point if I were to have another image taken on the beach, I would look MORE like the above picture than not. Size changes but the essence and spirit of someone doesn't.

Like I said yesterday, we are really not out outside packages. Outer beauty is great! I LOVE beautiful people and I love to photograph them! And here's the truth of the matter, I have not met ONE person in all my years of professional photography that I haven't found to be absolutely beautiful! Yep, every one of God's creation is beautiful. There's usually a gorgeous smile that reveals their marvelous spirit or a twinkle in the eyes. Some have flawless skin while others have beautiful hair. I find the beauty and then I play to their strengths. 

Here's another amazing fact, I have very rarely encountered someone who actually BELIEVES that they are beautiful... no matter how gorgeous they were! I've sat through sales sessions where perfect teenage girls would pick apart what they perceived as their flaws like "my hips are too big" when they were a size 4!!! It's really all a perception thing! We carry so much shame over our appearance. We all know too that it comes from fashion magazines with photoshopped models and movies with the most beautiful people alive appearing in them. The truth is that most people don't look like them! They won the genetic lottery! We all know that in our heads, but in our hearts sure wish we had a piece of that... as if it would magically make our lives better.

So there you go. Between the article of a fellow photographer and mine you now have NO excuse not to record your time on this earth through pictures! Celebrate you... ALL of you today... it's good for the soul!

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