This former fat girl still hates the camera

Growing up chubby turned a lot of things that many people enjoy into torture for me. One of thing that caused me a lot of pain was the camera. I hate, hate, hated to have my picture taken. I was always the most “well-fed” child in the picture.

Family photo 1956! I'm the chubby baby, far right, who won't make eye contact.

Family photo 1956! I’m the chubby baby, far right, who won’t make eye contact.

I did what I could to avoid the camera. Run to the bathroom, duck behind the taller people, be absent on school pic day, offer to take the picture, I did whatever it took. Sometimes my best efforts weren’t good enough. Sometimes I was forced to pose – ugh! NO! – sometimes I was “snapped by sneak attack!”

If a picture of me existed, I would try to steal it or alter it to render my image unrecognizable. The problem was it was often impossible to do either. I know those pictures exist and there is nothing I can do about it. The easiest way for me to deal with that thought, is not to think about it. Sometimes the old “out of sight, out of mind” adage is useful.

Some people lose weight and instantly fall in love with cameras. That’s not me. The phobia persists. I still am uncomfortable in front of a camera. That uncomfortableness translates into awkward, horrible photographs. It’s a vicious cycle – I hate the camera, the camera hates me, that makes me hate the camera more, and that makes the camera hate me more… It just keeps getting worse.

Definitely not my best angle! It really doesn't matter anyway since I don't even have a "good angle."

Definitely not my best angle! It really doesn’t matter anyway since I don’t even have a “good angle.”

I’ve read article with tips on how to look great in photos.

Don’t face the camera head on, angle your body. Tried it and it makes me look enormous.

Lower your head and stick out your chin slightly. Tried it, made me look like I had a sore throat.

Smile naturally. How the heck can I smile naturally on command, and especially when getting my photo taken is nothing to smile about?

Practice in the mirror to find your most flattering angle. Okay, I found it, now how to I make sure that everybody only photographs me from my flattering angle? 

Stand up! There's no way that's going to be a flattering angle!

Stand up! There’s no way that’s going to be a flattering angle!

Pinch your cheeks for a natural glow. Seriously? The cheek-pinching advice is still around! What’s natural about a red splotch on each cheek?

Fluff your hair. My hair does not fluff. It lies flat. Hairspray makes it stick straight up in the air. There’s no fluff in the middle of these extremes.

Here is the best advice I can give to anybody who hates cameras like I do.

Run! Duck! Do whatever it takes to avoid a camera (or a phone – Yeesh!) pointing at you!  

I tried to threaten my husband to get him to put down the camera. No luck.

I tried to threaten my husband to get him to put down the camera. No luck.

Do I have a body image problem? Do I hate my body? No! Nothing could be further from the truth. I like what I see in the mirror, but somehow my image in the mirror and my image in photos don’t match.


Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.