Photo Booths Capture Your Ugly

Writing about a different ‘me’. Skilbey Blogs.

“Photo booths really know how to capture your ugly”.

Occasionally, we get to see ourselves in a fresh light, though not always an attractive one. For example, hearing a recording of our own voice is often shocking; we don’t like or can’t identify with what we hear, adamant that such a peculiar sound doesn’t belong to us. We genuinely draw a blank and then the shock kicks in. I just wonder whether this momentary sense of disconnectedness is a creative writing opportunity to create another story about ourselves.

“Photo booths really know how to capture your ugly”.

Most of us like to think we are somewhere on the attractive spectrum regardless. So it comes as a nasty shock, again and again when the results from using a photo booth end up looking like something that wouldn’t look out of place in an identity parade.

The ‘capturing your ugly’ comment was made by my youngest when she was pressed to get some passport photographs printed very quickly The experience allowed her to form what I think is a universal opinion; that most photo booths create rubbish photographs despite coughing up stupid amounts to purchase them.

My daughter has her own explanation for why they are always grim and why booths could never match the much better quality of even your cheapest phone camera; high-resolution photos are designed to pick up every flaw and imperfection, thereby disarming any fraudulent attempts to manipulate. I’ve never found and explanation, so I don’t know.

But these photos could be useful in their own right.

Do we connect and own the photographs as our pug ugly doppelgangers? Or is there another angle; are there writers out there who looking down at their mugshots think, though it doesn’t represent them at all, there is perhaps the makings of a character here. And is it a character completely, totally, utterly removed from their own?

As writers, we are always looking for writing prompts and stimuli. Historical writers must be pedantic regarding accuracy. A photograph validates and verifies but is so much more; it’s also a window, a prism, a portal and a highway; why do we scrutinize the photographic faces of loved ones so much, trying to squeeze out as much information we can, from just a squint, furrow, posture or grin?

Guided by the passport office to find a resting-face somewhere between non-smiling and the downright Mona Lisa, can we ever see beyond the ex-convict look that seems to be the photo booths default setting?

Can just our own mugshot create ideas that are off tangent to our lives? Could we really be that criminal those photos scream out? I’m sure the answer’s a resounding yes, however, I would love to read thoughts on this. As writers, we are generally shy about throwing the light on ourselves, nevermind that it’s a pug -ugly picture.

I know. I should speak for myself.

2 thoughts on “Writing about a different ‘me’. Skilbey Blogs.

  1. I had to have a proper author photo done before I could bear to put anything out on the internet. My photographer said that people hate to see photos of themselves because that is not the image they are familiar with. We only ever look at ourselves in a mirror which is a reverse reflection so suddenly seeing something different to that doesn’t feel like us.

    1. Yes, I can see how a true reflection as opposed to the reverse could unsettle us into disconnecting. I’m not sure there will ever be another photograph of me anywhere on my website.What’s interesting is that our concerns over portrait photos may present as being extremely vain, (and for some it will be down to that), however for most, it’ll be down to an optical adjustment we are just trying to get to grips with. Thanks for commenting 🙂

Many thanks for reading. Your thoughts are always welcomed.

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