How much of the photographs we take are real?
“It’s all fake,” my brother said one day during dinner, which made me think. “When we take a picture, we stop whatever we are doing, we freeze, we smile at the photographer. We’re not capturing the moment at all. We’re merely capturing the fact that we are in a specific location and we were there.”
The more I think about it, the more I agree. It is true that we are not capturing the moment at all. We’re producing a moment outside of our reality in our attempt to document the present. When we stop to pose and smile at the camera, it is not a “natural” picture of our reality and activity anymore. It’s us faking and posing for a moment in time in a certain place. To really document a moment and capture it as it is will be an unwarned photograph. The photographer simply just takes pictures without telling everybody “say cheese!”
Because when we are aware, we are self-conscious and we are not natural. It is only when we are NOT aware, we can be natural. But then, that can be creepy and problematic because most of us don’t want to appear in any unwanted photographs–in a way we want to be aware, we want our best pictures taken, we want to produce the best images. Is that why we pause and pose? Is that why we smile?
Speaking of smile, it really is just us pulling our face muscles in an upward angle, is it not? Unless, of course, we are truly happy at that moment and our smiles are genuine, from the heart.
Really though, we are all posers.