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Back in Geneva

... which means there may now be a bit of a lull in my blogging, in the nature of things for a site dedicated mainly to travel photography.

Then again, it shouldn't be a fatality, as I'm determined to travel around my city with a fresh and colouful look. Little by little, the colour photos on my site may even outnumber the B&W's !

I should say I was quite pleased, coming back home, to lay my hands on my film cameras, 2 or 3 of which are always lying around the flat loaded with film, ready for me to photograph members of my family, the most patient and understanding of whom is my one-and-a-half year old daughter.

I'd really love to do an exhibition of portraits of my extended family, but there's always going to be an issue with most of them opposing such a venture because they don't like themselves in photo.

As far as I can tell, this is an almost universal trait - why ?!

I don't claim to be an exception: in fact, I can think of only a few photos where I like, or sort of approve, my image. When people, usually family, on the other side of my lense, raise this objection, I counter a) that they're talking rubbish and look great in photo and/or b) that looking bad, hypothetically, doesn't mean the photo won't be good. Mostly, the first argument leaves people unconviced, and the second doesn't really help my cause...

Does this trait bear any relation to our reaction when hearing our own voice on a recording, sounding quite different to how we hear ourselves when speaking ? In this particular case, our own voice really does sound different to others, since its sound is also transmitted to our ears through the vibration of our bones and other tissues, so that we are in fact not familiar with the sound of our own voices as perceived by others.

Could it be that we are unfamiliar with the way we look ? This suggestion seems absurd, especially in an era of navel-gazing individualism. There's always the argument that how we literally see ourselves on a photo depends not only on the way we actuall look, but also on emotional factors that warp our perception. I have to say I'm not fully convinced, and anyway, this hardly explains why nearly everyone doesn't like themselves in a photo.

Could it be that this trait is coded in our genes, as a way to ensure that we constantly seek to look better in the race to find the best possible partner ? Perhaps - but wouldn't this rely on the assumption that when this trait was coded into our genes long, long ago, humans had mirrors good enough to reflect a clear, accurate image of themselves ? Not so sure.

Still a mystery to me, but if anybody has an idea to help me persuade my son not to look away howling most times I turn my lense to him, I'm all ears !

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