Readers, I'd originally intended today's post to be "Men in Skirts: YEA or NAY," but we're past that sort of thing, don't you think?
Instead, I'd like to discuss photography. I believe there are two kinds of people: those who smile in photos and those who don't.
Look at any group photo and it's immediately obvious whose natural impulse is to smile, whose isn't, and who is perhaps on the fence. Most are in one camp or the other, have you noticed?
We all smile in my family. It's just our way.
|Not bad for eighty-something!|
Freddy smiled more before he had half his teeth pulled.
I don't know how old I was when someone first told me to smile in a photo -- probably less than a year -- and I've been smiling ever since, even if I'm not feeling particularly cheery in the moment; I don't even think about it. Then again, I still have my own teeth (well, most of them) and I am basically an "up" person.
Of course, once you have four or five decades behind you, being photographed with your non-smiling face can be a risk. By then, one's neutral expression usually betrays some mix of rage, grief, fear, and shame*, all of which a smile can usually help to mask. (Wasn't it George Orwell who said, "By 50, everyone has the face he deserves"?)
*also too: exhaustion, boredom, effects of gravity.
Does everybody look better when they smile? Hard to say.
Not smiling definitely gives one an air of mystery; a veiled hat and/or a cigarette help.
In contemporary fashion photography, one almost never sees smiling faces. I've heard all kinds of theories about why this is so, from the higher status we confer on non-smiling people (since they don't have to please anybody or smile to look obsequious), to a smile distracting from the clothes so that it becomes more about the model than their outfit. It's probably all these things and more -- if you know, perhaps you can share your opinions with us.
In closing, if you have a sewing blog (or are active on a site like Pattern Review) and post photographs of yourself in your self-made garments, is your inclination to smile, not to smile, or to chop off your head, thereby eliminating the issue altogether.
Why do we usually smile in photos anyway -- they didn't (much) in the 19th Century? Is it more an American thing?
Smiling or not smiling -- how do you prefer to be photographed, and why?