The Great Photo Promise

thumb_IMG_0252_1024How often do you trash – or trash talk – photos of yourself? I do routinely. Including the photo to your left.

Until the other day. I deleted a photo that I thought was not very flattering (horrible) and my guy said, “What’d you do that for? That was my favorite one!” Whaaaaat?

That made me feel…confused. Do I have a completely distorted view of what I look like when I’m looking good? Do I look like THAT all the time? What if I were a celebrity and THAT photo was also the favorite of some editor at Us Weekly?

Hold on. I forgot who I was for a moment. Why are we so worried about what we look like – in general and specifically in that one millisecond when the photo is being snapped? And what the helios could be wrong with that photo of me at the unbelievably beautiful May Lake in Yosemite National Park!?!

As if the people that matter to me will come across a photo and say, “Oooohhhh…I didn’t know you could look like THAT! I thought your legs were longer and your waist was a bit more whittled. G’bye.”

Get over it, Laura. Rise above it. Be a bigger person. What matters is on the inside. You know that.

Cameras were invented to capture history, to preserve memories. Not as a means to create a photo album of you and all your best “looks.” Native Americans and other cultures/religions believe that photos steal one’s soul. Sometimes I can really get behind that idea.


As an experiment and in solidarity of celebrities near and far (how do they handle all those photos?), I promise that for the next three months:

1. I will not delete any “unfavorable” photos on my phone or other people’s phones or cameras.

2. I will focus on the heart of the moment being captured, not on my appearance.

3. I will not read Us Weekly or similar (print or digital) magazine that intentionally publishes celebrity “mug shots.” Yes, I will even turn my head away at checkout stands.

As my wise younger sister says, “Even if you don’t think you look good in the photo now, in 10 years you’ll look back and remember that time…and think you were so young and beautiful.”

Because you are.

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