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Saturday, January 24, 2009

To say cheese or not to say cheese... that is the question.

I had an incident occur this week that has really affected me. I tried to just blow it off, but 3 days later, I'm still thinking about it, so obviously it's bothering me. I'm struggling with my motivation as it is, and this is not helping me at all!

One of my contacts on flickr is a very young (like under 18) woman who is very successful, even has her own non-profit organization, and specializes in modern childrens portraiture. She posted a picture of a little girl, about a year old, all dressed up as a princess, making a cheesy smile. The description on it was talking about what a terrible picture it was b/c it was cheesy, and that it was just an outtake. After I made a comment on how adorable it was, I decided to comment again and told the photog that when she becomes a mom, she'll treasure the cheesy smiles (b/c her kids will most likely suffer from
P.C.S.) Getting eye contact, not to mention smiles, will be nearly impossible! Well, after she deleted my comment, she left one for me stating that she didn't mind the kids not smiling in her photos. That the mom hated the cheesy smiles and that she prefers to capture real emotion, but that that's just her. ?? I'm still a little bit dumbfounded by her statement. I don't think she meant to imply that my images aren't captures of real emotion, but one could certainly interpret it that way. Also, who says that a cheesy smile is worthless? Is that not a display of personality and joy when coming from a one year old? Even if your objective is to capture real emotion in your portraits of children, shouldn't you embrace the sometimes goofy stuff too? I don't know, it just really bugs me! I responded to her comment through a private message and apologized if I offended her in any way (not sure how I could have) and I explained to her that all I meant was that cheesy smiles are special too.

What do you think?

12 comments:

meg manion silliker said...

i think under 18 is the key here - someday she'll understand what you meant. don't take it to heart - i am sure she didn't understand.

Jen said...

That's what I'm thinking too. ??

Kristi said...

As a mother... I know that when my kids do a big cheese ball grin, that they are hamming it up or goofing around.

I remember those moments!! Just because you didn't capture the whole "story" doesn't mean that the person there doesn't remember it.

You can't teach that to someone though... And though this 18 yo photog is artistic doesn't mean she captures everything in the heart. You have to experience certain things to appreciate it.

JMHO. Plus... I love your photos!! Don't let her get you down.

J and K's Sweet JAM said...

This hit home for me, Jen because my 3 yo will only offer cheesy smiles! He is just not a fan of the camera and I have grown to love and appreciate them so very much! Anyway, I am sure she will look back in 10 years and feel a bit differently.

Stacey said...

How weird... wonder what she means by "real emotion"? After all, joy can be a genuine emotion, too.

thousand words photography said...

totally agree...she is young with no kids of her own. it's quite amazing what a mother's heart can love!
don't take it personal, jen....

Portlandia said...

DUDE - I get 1 out of 100 snaps of MY kid that doesn't involve "NOOOOO!" and the hand, o the blur of his disappearing body. I would LOVE a cheesy smile pic! I feel your comment.

The Stories of Our Lives said...

i think that all smiles are so priceless! i like to capture the kids naturally as they are, sometimes that means a cheesy smile! i'd say if she were dressed up as a princess than a cheesy smile would probably be fitting for the picture ;]

Butterfly Chaser Photography said...

Le sigh.

Oh flicr... I really don't think half the "eighteen year-olds" who "just picked up a camera three months ago" on flickr are really real.

Personally I like to imagine them as 36 year-olds with a photography degree who get their jollies posting fake profiles pretending to be a prodigy savant. :)

About the cheesey smile question...
I like em. (If that are actually cheesy smiles with over exuberant facial movements.) If it's a pained smile that the child has been holding for 3 minutes...then I would prefer a serious expression.

I think this girl was out of line to delete your comment. One day she'll have kids and realize cheesy smiles are sometimes real emotion and a definite stage all 3-4 year olds go through.

Madge said...

Don't take it to heart! Your photographs are amazing.

Kelly Espinoza said...

That makes me laugh... internet drama!

I've had enough "real emotion" for one lifetime. I want a happy ending! I like happy pictures just fine - especially when it comes to kids. Since all kids should be happy and goofy I think that cheeseball photos are just great!

soanywaytoday said...

Cheesy is as special as "the real emotion" ones.... any mom knows cheesy smiles shows a real emotion too.

Don't let it get to you -YOU know I love your pictures.

Speaking of cheesy smiles check out facebook or my blog today to see little girl hamming it up for the camera.

Did you guys get affected by the ice storm much?