Photo Envy

I have to get my picture taken next week for a special award on campus, which really could be lovely, couldn’t it?  I even bought a new dress! It could be so special, I’ve earned this honor, I should be happy and proud.

Except for one slightly large problem: I generally look like a strung out (or at least mildly diseased) hippopotamus on film.

By this, I mean I look fat.  And strung out.  And mildly diseased.

First I would like to say that the term “fat’ implies no negativity on my part, I am not placing fat connotative with unattractive, not in the least.  I like my curves. My husband likes my curves.  Occasionally even the near-sighted older gentleman will give my curves a second look–whether he is truly focusing on me or just adjusting an errant contact lens, I choose to believe I am shapely and curvy enough to warrant a double take by a senile gentleman with cataracts.  I am just that beautiful.

What I am saying here is that the problem is not my body.  It is not my round face or my abnormally large Italian upper arms.  The problem is that I am the least photogenic person I know.  Even most real hippopotamuses look better captured on film than I do, and the competition is not even fierce.  Unless the hippo was wearing a dress and then there might be some confusion as to which of us–the hippo or me—was actually me.  And I still might lose.

So tonight, after spending some time reviewing all of the photos I have been tagged in on Facebook in the recent months and drinking wine and moaning, I went searching on the internet for some tips on how to remedy the problem.

I googled “How Not to Look Fat in Photos” and was surprised at how many articles were actually named exactly that.

There was some really good advice in them.
Which I think I will take, why not.  And if you are interested in these tips check out the following links:

How to Look Thinner in Pictures

The Fat Girl’s Guide to Posting for Pictures

How to Take Good Photos When You Are Overweight

Don’t be discouraged by the titles, like I was.  Or do be discouraged, because the titles are in fact, extremely discouraging, but be encouraged that you aren’t alone. The last article was the most helpful I think. Or maybe the least helpful.  I can’t tell anymore.

Maybe I was just so debased to find that I was reading articles that begin with this uber-encouraging phrase:

“Even if you’re comfortable being large, it may be difficult to be conventionally photogenic. In a society that increasingly values good photos, this can be a liability. Here is how to make sure you look your photographic best.”

Yay. So what if I can’t be “conventionally photogenic”! Maybe, just maybe if I follow the tips contained in these guides I will fake my way out of my liability of fatness.

Here is some of the helpful advice I intend to employ when getting my photo taken:

TIP: Smile. Smiles are a universally understood symbol of friendliness. People looking at your photo will like you immediately if you show a joyful, sincere smile. Plus, you’re showing off your inner beauty and your enthusiasm for life.

Note to Self: The above tip is VERY helpful.  It not only told me what I needed to do with my mouth in the photo (SMILE, dumbass) it also reminded me that if I smile people will potentially mistake my inner beauty for outer beauty.  And this would make me seem much more sincere.  Phew.  Who knew?

TIP: Use whatever props are on hand to hide protruding body parts. And by protruding body parts I mean your stomach.

Note to Self:  Bring props for photo.  Items to consider: my collection of rare books, my daughter’s french horn, the cat.

TIP: Strike a model pose, such as having your body sideways, while turning your face to the camera. Another option is laying full-length on your side. There’s a reason models use these poses– they’re universally flattering.

Note to Self:  Lay down on my side.

Because that’s not weird at all.

To make a short story very long, which is something as a blogger I can inherently do well, I am going to need a lot of smoke, mirrors and tricks to pull this off.

From my research, I have determined that I am going to need both the viewer and myself to suspend their (our) belief that my two or seventy-nine chins are only material figments of my “enthusiasm for life”.

And if you happen to be at school on Monday, you just might see me dressed in business attire in the University Center.
Soon I’ll be posing for the camera, holding a golf bag in front of my stomach, laying down in the middle of the floor… and smiling.
Nothing to see there.  Just walk on by.

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