Social Question

FluffyChicken's avatar

How do you think your self image matches up with how you really look to others?

Asked by FluffyChicken (5495points) July 20th, 2011

When I see photos of myself, they always surprise me (as in “wow there’s no way that fat cow is me!”). I never look the way I imagine myself when I’m not looking at a photograph or a mirror. What I see in the mirror, however, is totally different than what I see in photographs of myself. Looking in a mirror is a different experience every time too and I never know quite what to expect. It’s not like looking at a totally different person every time, more like some days I like the way I look, and sometimes I’ll hate the way I look. Do you have similar experience with your self image? Am I just insane?

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33 Answers

Neizvestnaya's avatar

It’s pretty close, so far. It keeps me in line with my weight, that’s for sure!

josie's avatar

Probably about the same.

Seelix's avatar

I feel the same way. When I look in the mirror, I’m usually pretty okay with the way my body looks. But when I see photos, I’m often unhappy with how large I seem.

When that happens with photos, I often wonder if I think I’m smaller than I actually am. The same thing happened when I weighed myself – I don’t know how much I thought I weighed (and thanks to that link that @Blackberry posted in the other thread, we know that numbers and looks don’t always match up), but the numbers on the scale were definitely higher than I expected. When I told my sister how much I weighed, she honestly didn’t believe me.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Depends a lot upon the talents of the photographer, the lighting, whether I’ve been caught chewing or wiping snot from my lip.

FluffyChicken's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I seem to look best when photographed by people who love me.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Of course. There is a tremendous difference between a snapshot and a portrait.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

No. No, no no. I can not stress this enough: NO.

The image that I have in my own head about how I look is nothing like what other people perceive. I don’t have a good explanation for how it became so skewed, but I recognize that it is. I would be absolutely honest if I said that I am not really sure what I look like. My face and body seem to morph before my very eyes. I don’t have a realistic perception of my own appearance.
I have also spent much of my adolescent and adult life battling with a disorder directly relating to this screwy image, so it shouldn’t surprise me (or anyone that knows me.) But there is now evidence from new studies that have come out that show that people who suffer from this disorder genuinely see something different than others do when they look in the mirror. It isn’t necessarily that my self-esteem is so damaged that I have distorted my view, but rather that my brain interprets the image differently than other people’s.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

As a fashion photographer, there is no doubt that some of the most gangly women photograph exquisitely. They are often alien looking, uncoordinated, with awkward physique and googly eyes. I’ve noticed that many times their noses are quite large, and would never photograph them from profile. But taking that three dimensional creature and flattening her to a two dimensional plane has an uncanny affect.

I have no doubt this phenomenon works in reverse as well. Many times a person who’s very beautiful in three dimensions will photograph horribly when transferred to two dimensions on paper.

Brian1946's avatar

@Seelix Do you have a link to the link that Blackberry posted?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

A little story about the famous photographer Bruce Weber. One of my models did a job for him and had to spend the week with a dozen other Abercrombie boys and girls at the lake house. They shot during the day and partied into the night.

At one point, my friend took a harmless snapshot of old Bruce and to her surprise he flipped out and demanded she erase the photograph immediately. He didn’t even want to see it. Then he made an announcement that no one was allowed to take his photo. The girl never worked for him again.

As a photographer, there are times that I wonder if my profession was chosen specifically to be on the back side of the camera in order to address some subconscious freudian psychosis. I hate having my photograph taken. But in Bruce’s case, I think he’s so famous that he demands to be in control of his public image, and cannot risk amateurs taking bad photos of him. Purely speculation on my part.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies that’s an interesting story. I am not famous at all, but I would have had an identical reaction to his. In fact, I have many times in the past. People who know me know better than to take my photo without my permission. It’s not a joke to me, “outraged” would be an understatement for my reaction.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Perhaps it’s a phobia. I have to ask. Is your avatar your photograph? If so, how did it come about?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies yes it is me, and there are very few photos in existence that were taken without my permission, or taken by anyone other than myself. Anything that hits the internet, or anywhere that other people might see it, is carefully screened by me. Friends and family know better than to even push that line with me. I simply have no tolerance. It is a phobia of sorts, but in my situation it falls into a bigger category, as I mentioned above.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

There is no shame in desiring to control one’s own public image.

CaptainHarley's avatar

It’s been a long, LONG time since I even thought about how I “really look to others.” If anyone doesn’t like the way I look, they can look at something else! : D

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I may have misrepresented in the way that I answered your question.
I don’t care if the photo is never going to leave the camera or their own private photo album. I will become irate if the photographer fails to grant me total control over what happens to a photo. At this point in my life I won’t even allow a person to take my photograph on a camera or device that I am not the owner of.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Well this is getting interesting. As a photographer, I understand my rights as the creator of a photograph. When a customer hires me to do a job, the law states that those photos are my property, and mine alone. They may purchase the rights for an extra cost, but rarely will they be fully exclusive to them, and if so, the cost is extremely high. For instance, one photograph for Anheuser Busch purchased exclusive rights will cost upwards of $50,000.oo or more depending upon the market to be used in.

Likewise, if anyone is in a public place, I have the right to photograph them and use the shot for any type of editorial work that suits me with no regard to who’s being photographed. I cannot use it for an advertisement, but editorial is perfectly legal.

There is a huge concern currently among photojournalists who have been prevented from photographing police doing their job. Even firefighters will often tell photographers to put their cameras away and demand images to be deleted. Photographers are advised to request the statute which states they must comply, and none is ever produced. It is also advised to photojournalists to keep a copy of the laws with them at all times.

The difference is whether or not the photograph has been taken on public or private property. If private, I must be very careful with how I use the photos. If public, no worries.

So how would you react to a photographer who obviously shot your picture while at the park or just walking down the street?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I would most likely approach them and request that they not use my photo. However, I recognize that there are certain legalities surrounding this exact scenario, and if they declined… I would probably just go home and obsess and cry about it. Honestly.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

My idea of how I appear in person to others is drastically different than how I feel I appear to people via a photograph. I need about 10 pics to find one that I think looks like me or that other people thinks looks like me. I am NOT naturally photogenic.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

After you are finished crying, consider taking action. There are times when the legal system doesn’t always provide perfect justice. Sometimes backwoods justice is the only solution to putting things right.

So if you’re ever in this position, and you really don’t want to obsess, consider talking to the photographer in greater detail and make sure to get a name, web site, and a few client names that he’ll be proud to brag about. Now you have some information to work with, upon which, you can inform him that if you see your photo being used anywhere without your permission, that you have enough knowledge to blacken his reputation on photo forums and consumer web sites. No photographer wants to risk bad rumors being spread. Though it will probably not come to that, every photographer knows that one bad comment about them can outweigh dozens of good ones.

Just something to put in your pocket for a little more self assurance if the situation ever occurs to you @ANef_is_Enuf.

Schroedes13's avatar

I have to say that my self-image is usually a lot different in a better than than how others perceive me. I am a very self-confident person and I really like to think of myself as a great looking lad. Whenever I feel bad about my appearance, I stop feeling bad and be awesome instead :P!

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies wow, thank you. That little bit of information actually made my day.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

You’re welcome @ANef_is_Enuf. My profession is easily tainted by unscrupulous people. For every reputable tog, there are dozens who play tog and end up making us all look bad. We’re not all bad.

laineybug's avatar

I like to think that I’m taller than I am, and then when I see a picture of myself next to anyone I look kind of tiny.

abysmalbeauty's avatar

I look terrible in photos… maybe I look terrible in real like too I just don’t know haha

Facade's avatar

I have no idea… I almost always dislike photos of myself

DominicX's avatar

It’s hit and miss. Sometimes I really like photos of me and I’m impressed with how good they look. But other times I think certain photos make me look pretty ugly. And there are times when I look in the mirror and am pleased with what I’m looking at and other times when I don’t look so great. It’s not a huge fluctuation and most of the time I’m fine with how I look in the mirror and in photos, but it does depend on the situation. Sometimes I think my nose is too big or my smile is awkward is something along those lines…no one ever points those things out to me, though…

I try to make myself look good, though. I’m not one of those people who just doesn’t care; unless I’m sick or tired or just staying home doing nothing, I try and look good if I’m going to be seen by other people.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

From your photos, you are a virtual twin of my eldest son @DominicX. He’s 22 and at the University of Miami. Where do you go to school?

ddude1116's avatar

I’m usually impressed with how I look in candid shots, and unimpressed with how I look in posed shots. It also depends on whether or not I was going anywhere that I felt it necessary to prepare my appearance. I prefer the photos from my cousin’s wedding to the photos you’re asked to be in on a random day. The humidity of the day also is what mostly matters, for I only look as good as my hair does.

ucme's avatar

I’ve never given it a moments thought.

Seelix's avatar

@Brian1946 – Sorry to be so late in answering, but here is the link I mentioned that @Blackberry posted elsewhere. It shows a bunch of photos of people of various heights and weights – interesting to see.

Brian1946's avatar

@Seelix

Thank you. :-)

I agree- it is interesting.
A lot of the women I looked at don’t look nearly as heavy as they listed.

EverRose11's avatar

I believe most people see me just as I see myself, I have always been a what you see is what you get type. I had in my youth been told I was always prettier in person than I was in photographs, but either way I pretty much always looked the same. And it was anything but pretty.

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