I love photography. With each snap, I feel like I’m able to unleash a mini canvas to save memories I see around me. The Internet and advent of technology have made it so easy for me, as well as other more professional photographers, to share their perspectives with the world. Although photography has become more accessible and easier than before (and its value in society has risen through the years) there also is a very visible devaluing… namely in the way photos are scrutinized to live up to another person’s “standards.”
One of the weirder – and sometimes upsetting – consequences of this shift in perspective are the things said to others that would never be said face-to-face. What you are about to read are snippets or paraphrases of messages I have received before – usually in a private domain such as my Facebook inbox – based off of the photos I have posted of myself or the world around me. As a reference, I do not have any photos that could be categorized as “provocative” or “racy.”
Some of these messages seem normal, others not so much.
You be the judge of their undertones.
– You’re such a good photographer, maybe you should buy a better camera and you can do a photoshoot of me!
– Mmmmmmmm 😉
This one can be replaced by many other creepy messages. Be creative. I have and continue to receive creepy messages, even if I have posted a picture of a cake.
– I usually think you’re pretty but your new photo makes you look old/fat/ugly/insert other word that doesn’t fit to this person’s standards.
– I really think you should fix your gapped teeth / get a new hairdo / wear a different style / show more skin / other unsolicited comment that reflects my personal choices.
– Hi (repeat this message indefinitely until I respond with “hi”).
This is then followed by sup? / why didn’t you reply? / you’re hot / nice pic.
– Why didn’t you invite me to (insert event or restaurant)?
– We should go out to (location) because I like (insert what person liked about my photo).
– Why do you take pictures of buildings/food? Where was this picture taken? How can I get to this location?
As you can see, some are harmless, yet others could have serious implications. I’m a strong enough personality to have most of the criticism and creepiness roll off my back, but I can imagine what could happen – what insecurities could form, how these harsh judgements could make a person lose confidence… the list goes on.
What creeps me out the most are the unsolicited “suggestive” comments that are sometimes sent from the most innocent of images. I received a creepy message from posting a photo of coffee once. What sort of logic is behind that? (Maybe I could classify this as non-logic?!)
I will never stop taking photos and sharing them because of these factors. Nevertheless, it makes me wonder what sorts of other things have been said to people. It makes me question how others place or remove value based on what another person might photograph. Is the modern era that promotes body shaming and Photoshop modification to the point that the natural form is lost a true paradigm? Has it made us better people because of it? Do we always have to be beautiful enough, in shape enough, and sexy enough to be validated? Do we have to stop taking photos of things we find interesting, beautiful, or tasty because we might somehow get solicited from them?
I don’t think so.
Do you have a personal story or comment related to this? Share it in the comments below. Thanks for reading!