A couple of years ago, we were all at my mother's for Thanksgiving. My sister and I, feeling particularly festive and chummy, asked my brother to take our picture. He agreed, but had to do a little art direction first. He arranged us sitting together on my mom's bed, then he stood and prepared to shoot us from about a 45-degree angle above. I asked why.
"Ten years, ten pounds," he explained.
Wow! It turns out that if you shoot someone from slightly above, they lose the aforementioned ten plus ten.
I repeat. Wow! The picture looked fabulous.
Now, I can't swear that it works all the time. A 98-year-old woman might still look 98. A 9-year-old girl probably won't appear to be minus-one. But for a couple of (then) 40-something sisters, it was better than a tummy tuck or day at the spa.
Of course, I immediately filed this little trick away for future use. (Thank you very much, NYU Film School!) From then on, any time I've had my picture taken, I've urged the camera person (usually my husband or teen daughter), "Shoot from above! Shoot from above!" As you can imagine, there is much eye-rolling. But, I am generally satisfied with the results.
Now, compare my carefully choreographed posing to my daughter's pictures. She takes thousands of them. Literally, thousands. She has two cameras plus an iPhone plus a Mac laptop with a photo booth app, so in reality, she has four cameras. Plus, she's never shy about shooting with my phone, my husband's phone or our iPad.
You get the picture. And, so does she. All the time.
A typical afternoon with friends includes dozens of "selfies" (those are the self-portraits millenials take by holding their phone at arms length and smiling at it). I was so proud of myself when I first learned the term: "selfies." I probably used it a bit too much ...
"Stop saying that word, Mo-o-o-om!!!"
Anyway, my daughter and her BFFs shoot themselves and each other all the time. Running, jumping, lying around. From above, from below, from the side, from the back. They pose fully clothed; they pose in bathing suits. (This has nothing to do with sexting. They are just happy teens who are comfortable in their own skins.) If they're going to the pool or diving off a pier, why not capture it for posterity?
I wish I could be that un-self-conscious. I'm afraid those days are gone. I think if someone took a picture of me in a bathing suit now, I'd probably shoot them.
And, I don't mean with a camera.