The Stories Within Pictures #3: Camera-Shy


Portraits and self-portraits are a very peculiar form of photography since some people love to be photographed and they seek the ever-wanted attention but some people are too shy and they try to hide their beauty every time they see a camera. Are they afraid of showing too much or losing a part of them?

“I instantaneously make another body for myself; I transform myself in advance into an image. I feel that the photograph creates my body or mortifies it. I do not stop imitating myself (…) the photograph represents that very subtle moment when to tell the truth, I am neither subject nor object but a subject who feels he is becoming an object: I then experience a micro-version of death.”

(A citation from Camera Lucida written by Roland Barthes, p. 10-14)

Funnily, even such a great philosopher as Roland Barthes admitted that the portrait photographs are in some way micro-versions of death. We want our best part to be shown; we pose ourselves into the picture we think that other people see in us. But in this way, we are losing a part of us.

A few months ago, I took some photos of myself. I am usually very shy in front of the camera and I feel better when I am the one who pushes the trigger. Portraits and especially self-portraits are about pretending, they are like a game of hide-and-seek. We want to be invisible but on the other hand we are willing to expose ourselves in front of the camera. However, when we already stand or sit in front of the camera and are waiting for the click, our shyness is just a gesture.

This reminds me the game that almost every child has played. A child closes eyes. Now, he could not see anyone, therefore he thinks in his little childish mind that no one can see him as well. He is invisible for how long he wishes to be so. His mum knows exactly where he stands and that he is trying to steal some freshly baked cookies. She lets him to be invisible; she even puts one more cookie in his hand. Now, are you shy? Close your eyes, put your hand in front of your face, hide your chin and mouth behind a scarf. Be shy for how long you want and then expose your beauty.

Photo and words by Erika Grendelova. Originally from Slovakia, Erika now lives in the Czech Republic and travels a lot to UK and Finland. Read more articles from her series here.

written by erikagrendel on 2012-02-22 #lifestyle #camera #photos #shy #pictures #lomo #lomography #storytelling #hide-and-seek #the-stories-within-pictures-series #narration #story-regular-contributors #the-stories-within-pictures

One Comment

  1. hervinsyah
    hervinsyah ·

    Don't she realized that she has the beautiful eye that is too waste to hide =D

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