Thoughtful Thursday: Natural

November 17, 2011

Thoughtful ThursdayOn a different photo topic from being photogenic

I had another instance of getting the wind knocked out of me this week. Burrito and Tamale both love technology (despite not being allowed near any electronic gizmos). They discovered the answering machine that is part of the cordless phone base. We switched to machineless voicemail a year and a half ago, so the answering machine has just been sitting there, idle. At the time of the switch, we happened to have saved a few messages, then never deleted them.

Burrito and Tamale decided to press all of the buttons. They played the messages.

  1. Work thing for DH which is now very much moot.
  2. “How are the babies?” message from former coworker.
  3. Random message from my mother.

It was such a shock to suddenly hear her voice, out of nowhere.

I can still hear her voice in my head, but I don’t really have any good audio or video samples of her.

There were a few videos my dad shot when she was sick, in the hospital or in a rehab facility, to show me her condition. Not an accurate representation of her usual self.

During better times, whenever my mother was in front of the camera, she became decidedly unnatural. Still camera: bizarre, stilted pose with fake smile. Always the same one, but not a body position or face that she ever made off camera. Video camera: the most talkative person in the world suddenly clammed up.

DH is totally himself on video. With a still camera, he psychs himself out sometimes, and either smiles too much or not enough. When we just had professional photos taken, out of 300 photos, the only ones where he looks natural are a few where he forgot about the camera and focused on interacting with one of us. He does look good in many of them, but it’s just not quite him.

I like to think that I act and look pretty natural in front of the still camera. When a video camera is pointed at me putting me on the spot to say something, like the videographer at a wedding, I have nothing to say (sorry about your wedding videos, everyone). With everyday videos, though, like the ones we take of Burrito and Tamale, I am absolutely myself. For good or for bad, that’s me.

How natural are you in front of the camera?


14 Responses to “Thoughtful Thursday: Natural”

  1. St. Elsewhere Says:

    It must have been a total shock to hear her voice…

    I think I am pretty natural in front of both kinds of cameras. And sometimes I am not. This ‘reservation’ comes from the fact that I don’t consider myself photogenic.

    I have learnt that I photograph well if I have a lipstick on.

    I usually laugh open-mouthed, and sometimes that comes out well. But if I have to keep my lips together, I tend to ensure or try to remember to keep my lips together (had braces on as a teenager, the teeth just got to tolerably inside). So, if I remember that on time, my pic would be a posed one.

    With a video on, I don’t bother….you can’t escape it much.

  2. Sara Says:

    As a kid I was something of a ham in front of the camera; I had a “pose” and a smile that came out when I was being photographed. I still have to stop myself from moving into that pose sometimes, when I know that the photograph is supposed to be candid, and sometimes I feel a bit self-conscious about how fake the pose must seem. But I went in for new passport photos about a month ago and was told that I posed like I knew what I was doing. And about a year and a half ago I had the great experience of going out with a friend who does photography semi-professionally and getting to “strut my stuff” in front of the camera and get some amazes photographs — some of the most natural looking photos of me that I have from recent times.

  3. celiadelia Says:

    I hate cameras AND getting my picture taken. My grandpa was a professional photographer and while it may seem a dumb thing to complain about, having your entire family be photo obsessed can be really annoying. Pictures, pictures ALL THE TIME. We take very few pictures of Peter, which is maybe not very parental of us and I have only a handful of us together. yuck. My family is still the same though, so his Aunt has 9 gabillion of him. I cannot tell you the amount of throwdowns I used to have when I worked and it was time for the “Staff Holiday Picture” or random staff hijinks. Include me OUT.

  4. Ana Says:

    I can do natural in photographs & if I’m in the background of a video, but like you, when the video camera is focused on me, I get nervous and awkward. Its like public speaking, I guess; though the audience isn’t right there in front of you, you are imagining an audience in the future.

  5. strongblonde Says:

    i’m in this weird place right now. i feel like i’m natural and relaxed, but when i SEE the pictures? i wonder who that is. it doesn’t look like me. i’m often shocked of my posture, my smile, my habitus. i’ve been wondering lately if this pics are really an actual truthful representation of me, but my own image of myself is the one that is inaccurate? maybe i think of myself in history? or how i wish i looked? it’s more than weight. it’s facial structure. it’s habitus. it just almost feels like i’m looking at a different person!

    because i’m really overthinking this now, i wonder how i will be at the wedding this weekend. i know that i am going to really try to focus on standing up straight. i feel like people who are busty tend to look like they have bad posture anyway. add to that a strapless dress and i’m sure i’ll look like a hunchback.

  6. a Says:

    I try not to be in pictures or videos…

  7. It’s so interesting that you post this now because this week I was cleaning out some old messages on OUR answering machine and ran across one I’d been saving from Grandma Marshmallow, even before she got sick. She sounded so strong and happy and enduring. Hearing her was both exhilarating and deflating.

    I know that Husband is not ready to hear that. I bet “getting the wine knocked out of you” is an apt description. Abiding with you…

    Not natural in front of a camera.

  8. St. Elsewhere Says:

    LOL, ‘a’ is a secret agent….


    he he he

  9. Elana Kahn Says:

    I’m quite a natural in front of the camera. If I weren’t short and fat I’d be a great model. πŸ™‚

  10. I’m horrible in front of a still camera. I’ve been told I’m good on video, but I find it hard to watch or listen to recorded versions of myself, so I really wouldn’t know.

    What’s interesting is that when I was live on TV in St. Louis, my husband tried to show our daughter “mommy on TV.” She FREAKED. I mean completely melted down. And even when we tried to turn on the recording with me in the room, she went ape again. I’m still not quite sure why, because she loves looking a pictures of her family in the digital photo frame. Go figure…

    I had a voicemail from my mom on my dorm phone. I played it over and over again, and then one day it was gone, b/c apparently the system automatically erased them after 90 days. I cried so hard, and I’m still angry with myself for not getting my act together and recording it. I can’t even remember what it said now. But I can still hear her voice and remember how it sounded. Kids are very lucky today. There are so many recordings and pictures of us adults that I doubt they’ll ever be able to lose anything but our smell and taste.

  11. Heather Says:

    I hate being video taped. I know it’s quite unnatural. I also hate having my voice recorded. I can’t stand the sound of my voice.

  12. St. Elsewhere Says:

    @Heather’s comment: I once taped my own voice to listen to what I actually ‘sound’ like…and I can’t believe that is my voice….I did not judge it as good or bad, but I would have been surprised otherwise to listen to it as mine….

  13. St. Elsewhere Says:

    Needless to add, I tend to return back to read comments on your TT post…..

    And I love the comments as much as the posts themselves…


  14. Tara (TIMO) Says:

    Now St. Elsewhere knows why I’m often late for my commenting. The previous comments are good for making me think about my own comment.

    I’m terrible in front of the camera. I chat too much so I get caught with weird expressions. If I’m not chatting, then I have the “cheese” face- squinting eyes, big smile. Totally fake. Lucky for us, the boys inherited this too.

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