CANDIDLY SPEAKING

And so the weeks of reading begin today. The shortest book is just over 4 hours. The longest one is 23 hours. My job? Read them, and do my best to judge them fairly. And try not to pre-judge anything based on opinions I may have from previous readings of related or similar books.

Through the screen to the setting sun

It is a very wet, grey, foggy, chilly day. A classic winter day without snow — and I’ve got about 100 hours of reading. I haven’t started yet.

Speaking of candid, yesterday, I took pictures at a birthday get-together. No one likes the pictures. Except me. That’s what they all looked like, but that’s not what they had in mind. Everyone has a mental image, a brain-scanned visual of how they think they should look in a photograph. Since all of these were groups of people — and were shot tightly on a narrow porch — with my super fast lens, they all needed at least some straightening and desaturating. And cropping. Group portraits are always tricky.

Someone will always look weird. He has his or her eyes closed. She looks furious with Gods and Men. Someone else has his jaw hanging open and another one needed to scratch her nose. At that precise second. Blinking and drooling and scratching and making strange faces … followed by group complaining.

This is the point when I turn the originals over to the people in them. Let them figure out how to make everyone’s skin human while skewing the picture straight.  I’m going to smile sweetly and forget to bring the camera next time.


Marilyn, stop being snarky.
Oh, alright. HOW ABOUT JUST a little  BIT snarky?

Seriously — don’t you hate it when people ask you to bring a camera, then complain about the pictures? I almost gave up photography because of complaining people.

January sunset through a screened porch

A friend of mine had a great logo for portraits:


“Pictures in which you look the way we see you, $5.00. Pictures in which you look the way you see you, $5,000.00.”

That’s why I love landscapes. Not once has a river ever complained.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

30 thoughts on “CANDIDLY SPEAKING”

  1. I understand your annoyance.

    Im on the other side of that fence–I stopped posing for photos when I hit about 11, and am noticeably absent from every group photo I’m in, except for the highschool year book and my wedding photos where my mother gripped my elbow in a death grip and said, ‘you will hold still for these pictures”. And I did.

    I think people expect photos of themselves to miraculously look like the image they think they see in the mirror, the one that hasn’t changed in 40 years. The camera can be a vicious brute to us less than photogenic souls, and we keep hoping that it will be kind to us this time.

    We never look like we think we do, and if we do, we blame the camera.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hate my own pictures, but I deal with them because they aren’t BAD pictures.They just aren’t the “me” I want to see. In the meantime, if want you really want is a professional picture, hire a pro. Go argue with him or her. I do a lot of “cleanup” on pictures too — smoothing skins, removing pouchy necks, removing wrinkles. The pictures ARE good, but I can’t make the kid smile if he won’t smile.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hey, I know you make people look good. You make difficult subjects/people to shoot ,,look good. I thought the birthday pics were nice. We are who we are. Birthday boy’s granddaughter stole the show. She is adorable!

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    2. I have that reporter at work photo of me from 1980 something, hanging on the wall. Keep wondering what happened to him.

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  2. I don’t consider myself a portrait photographer — to the extent that I rarely take other than candid people shots. Usually I don’t even like the shots, with a rare exception of a candid. Enjoy your reading!

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    1. These actually came out very well … but they all want to look younger. The kid didn’t SMILE. And she felt FAT — well she is well padded but why do women who ARE round expect to look like models in pictures?

      I will enjoy reading and I’d better get going on it — like now would be good.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I always look pretty much the way I expect in pictures — older and fatter than I do in the mirror. ^_^ But hey, that’s okay. The camera doesn’t lie.

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    1. You get that, but a lot of people don’t and they can be very aggravating as “customers.” AND they are always not paying you so they are FREE customers. I just have to learn to forget my camera more often. It will solve a lot of problems!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think there is a “me” inside this lumpy, sideways, white-haired, turkey-wattled body that NEVER shows up in photos. Instead, when people point a camera at me, my Aunt Jo shows up. Sometimes someone takes a photo of me, but usually it’s my Aunt Jo. Mostly I’m happy if it seems I’m having a good time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My mother used to show up, but I look less like her now than I did ten years ago. I don’t know who I look like now, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t ME. Garry takes pretty good pictures of me. He also has a good idea of what I’ll like having had plenty of time to figure it out 😀

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  5. Love it! 🙂 Know just how you feel. When it comes to my family, I’m always accused of taking the photos everybody hates. No one wants me to post them because they don’t look like models… Well, let’s face it, all we can do is shoot what we see. Oh, well. Have a great time reading (listening to) those new books. I’m reading three right now. Can’t wait for spring to get here! xo

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    1. Thanks. We all want to look better, however we define “better.” Slimmer. Less wrinkled. Better teeth. Not bald. And men as as bad or worse than women, which is why being The Family Photographer is often a thankless job. But really, if you don’t want pictures, don’t tell me to bring a camera and I promise, I won’t complain about whatever pictures YOU take. Ooph.

      The books will be fun, just … it’s a lot of reading in a very short time.

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        1. Yes, but I bet I’d STILL get a lot of people telling me that won’t pay for the picture because (this is true, I’m not making it up) “my nose is too big.” It was big but I didn’t MAKE it big. I got to really hate clients and decided amateur photography was the way to go. Being a pro sucked.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Starting tomorrow, I’m going to go missing. I REALLY have to start listening or I’ll never make my deadline. I skipped out on today because I needed groceries and I had one of those migraines that make sound and light painful. But that’s all the time off I can take. I will be back and hopefully, I’ll find time to take a few photos and write the odd post. No one can read ALL the time.

      None of us are quite what we see in our heads. I’m so not the lean mean machine I used to be.

      Liked by 2 people

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