So you’re feeling too fat to be photographed . . .

Syndicated on BlogHer.com

Listen. I hear you. You’re a few pounds heavier than you like (or a 100lbs heavier than you like). I completely understand how you feel. I get that same blah feeling about myself when I think about booking new head shots or long overdue pictures of me and Justin. Precious, I even picked a career that has me permanently behind the camera rather than in front of it. Seeing myself in pictures actually produces the faintest sick feeling in my stomach. Isn’t it amazing we can see the beauty in our best friends, sisters, mothers, and aunts without the slightest thought to their flaws . . . but can obsess for hours on our own imperfections? We fixate on our flaws to the point we shirk at any documentation that our round faces and curvy bodies ever walked the earth. No pictures to show how we LOVE, how we laugh, how we are treasured by our families. How is it possible that a double chin can overpower the beauty of a mother cuddling her child? How does arm fat distract from the perfect shot of a spontaneous hug? I swear y’all . . . how is it that we can put more value on a TUMMY ROLL than the captivating way you throw yourself into a roar of laughter during a shoot?

In our warped minds pictures become frozen mirrors that we can stare at as we pick apart our features over and over again.
I know girl. I know.

My personal duck-and-cover (or signature “make a funny face”) approach to having pictures of myself changed completely when I had a serious car accident last year (and started over). In the flash of a second (or a flash of the text message the young woman was reading) my entire life changed. I nearly left this earth with no physical evidence of the goofy, wide open and loud love I have for my life, my husband, my family and friends. I haven’t had professional pictures done since our wedding in 2006 . . . always waiting for this elusive moment where I would be thin enough (pretty enough) to have such a permanent record of me. Because, you know, HEAVEN FORBID there be any proof that I look the way I actually look.

So here is the harsh truth y’all. Listen good. Our vanity is no longer enough of a reason to avoid the camera. Life doesn’t wait until you “get thin” enough to capture it. Life is happening . . . it is happening right now and the only moment we are guaranteed is the one we are living. I shudder at the thought of leaving behind no pictures of my life with ME in it. My mom says of the accident she is “just glad that we’re still a whole family.” My gift to her this Christmas was a family portrait showing just that, 9 months post-accident . . . a whole family.

So You're Feeling Too Fat for Pictures?  My Friend Teresa Photography Puts it All in Perspective.

Do you know what my mom sees when she looks at this picture? Her beautiful family all together.
Do you know what my husband sees? The family he gained the moment he met me (and how much he looks like my dad…)
Do you know what my dad sees? The happy family he has worked for every day of his life.
Do you know what my brother sees? That he got away with wearing shorts… :)

Shocker: No one is looking at how fat I look.

 

Can we agree to put the value of family over the value of fat? Can we just accept that the weight you’ve been trying to lose for 5 years might actually just be a part of what you look like . . . and that if this magical day does come when you’re acceptably thin you’ll STILL regret not having any pictures of you with your kids from ages 5 – 10? Can we acknowledge that the insecurities we have in our heads will never be a part of how our children, husbands, and friends see us? Can we just please let our loved ones remember the YOU they love?

Your children want pictures with their mom.

Your husband wants pictures with his beautiful wife.

Your mom and dad want pictures of the happy, successful, amazing woman they raised (ok, and more pictures of the grandkids while you’re at it)

And if you’re thinking that high school friend on Facebook will say to herself (“wow she has gained weight”) then . . . newsflash you DID. You gained weight. Shed a tear. Read a book. Drink a Sweet Tea. Watch Oprah. Whatever it takes. Accept this reality . . . YOU GAINED WEIGHT. The truth is you’ve gained a lot of other things too (a career, a family, some kids, a house, a love for travel, the ability to coordinate your separetes . . . ) and that girl from high school is going to spend a lot more time hating on those things then she ever will on your double chin.

So you’re feeling too fat to be photographed? . . . Ok. But you’re the only one who notices. The rest of us are too caught up in loving you.

 

2,332 Responses to “So you’re feeling too fat to be photographed . . .”

  1. […] friend Audrey on Facebook recently shared this blog post about feeling too fat to be photographed. I commented to her that I found it insightful. The […]

  2. […] loves you and wants to have photos of you that they can cherish.  I realized this when I read this post by My Friend Theresa photography.  They don’t look at you as a fat person, but as a person they […]

  3. Krysta says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I am finally getting family photos taken this coming week after 6 years. I have no pictures of myself, my husband an our 2 handsome boys all together. I was always scared of how they would come out. But this post touched me and I know I am much more then heavy to them. Thank you again!!!!

  4. […] So You’re Feeling too Fat to Be Photographed […]

  5. Kristol says:

    Perfectly written with depth, insight, truth and revelation. I love your transparency….we are all perfectly imperfect.

  6. […] Pro photographer, Teresa S. Porter’s article for those who feel like they’re “too fat to be photographed.” […]

  7. […] So You’re Feeling Too Fat to be Photographed {Teresa Porter)  “Seeing myself in pictures actually produces the faintest sick feeling in my stomach. Isn’t it amazing we can see the beauty in our best friends, sisters, mothers, and aunts without the slightest thought to their flaws . . . but can obsess for hours on our own imperfections? We fixate on our flaws to the point we shirk at any documentation that our round faces and curvy bodies ever walked the earth. No pictures to show how we LOVE, how we laugh, how we are treasured by our families. How is it possible that a double chin can overpower the beauty of a mother cuddling her child? How does arm fat distract from the perfect shot of a spontaneous hug? I swear y’all . . . how is it that we can put more value on a TUMMY ROLL than the captivating way you throw yourself into a roar of laughter during a shoot? […]

  8. Hannah says:

    Thank you so much for writing this! I haven’t had any photos taken since my wedding as I’ve been too ashamed of my weight gain. 2 years on I feel like I am missing out and your article has given me the push and strength I needed to get infront of the camera again. Thank you for the reality check!

  9. Me says:

    Oh well….if I were in a picture and my husband was the one looking at it, he would most probably point out the exact number of lbs he believes I gained since he last saw me in a picture, the bags under my eyes, the years I added up to my age….and the list can go on. In my opinion…it’s true that it does matter who looks at those pictures we take. Sometimes the fear that we look fat in a picture is probably the fear that somebody else will notice it too and say it out loud. The person who wrote this article is fortunate to be surrounded by people who love her…

    • Jaelene says:

      I hope your not serious that your husband would look at a picture of you and tell you how many pounds you have gained, or any of the other rude comments you mentioned. That is sad. I dont know you but I dont believe anyone deserves to be talked to that way. You deserve to be loved no matter what size you are. I wish that you felt you had a loving family and husband to say nice things about your pictures no matter what your weight is. Im sure Ialready know the answer, but have you told him how it hurts you? If not its time you do. If you have before its time to tell him again, louder. Im sorry you hurt this way.

  10. […] So you’re too fat to be photographed […]

  11. […] the moms here. Stop saying you are too fat to take photos. My friend Teresa (see what i did there?) put this beautifully years ago that went viral after she was in a horrible car crash. Stop putting off photos of you and your […]

  12. Marsha Wilson says:

    Yep. My mom stopped taking photos of me when I got fat at age six. Now at 66, it really hurts to not be able to see myself growing up. She was ashamed of me; I learned to be ashamed of myself. Get those cameras out everyone!

  13. Sarah Garrigues says:

    You are so right on with this blog entry that I can’t even!!!

  14. Crystal says:

    I seen this on my Facebook page shared by one of my friends. I am still crying while typing this out. I was diagnosised with thyroid disease about 5-6 years ago. Which causes rapid weight gain…I had lost 50 pounds about 5 years ago…but i have put it plus more back on. I look around my house and I see only 1 family 8×10 pic and I remember that day to be a nightmare. The photo shoot was a gift from my best friend..(who had had weight loss surgery..so I didn’t want to refuse the gift..but I was thinking…she was fat once and she knows that feeling of no pictures..unless I am taking a selfie. And I don’t look good in pics.) But as I look at this pic you can tell I am forcing all I have to smile and not look tense. I cried when reading…that you said how the camera doesn’t capture my heart ….my personality…my love for my family..in my eyes…but what see it captures is my line backer neck…the pound cake size double chin…inflatable size inner tube gut. I have always told people please don’t take “Kodak Moments” pics of me..let me try to pose. I am the same way I smile real big and kinda goofy..
    Been told a lot how pretty or beautiful I am…I would say…”if you could have seen me when I was 16.” I look at my Wedding pics and think back then..how fat I thought I was there…I and I really wasn’t, I wish I was that size again. My husband loves me unconditionally…he is smaller than me. He says my weight has never been an issue. I look at our friends who take cute moment pics with their spouses…and I run..from the pics or I tell them please don’t post them on fb…I even have my fb set that someone has to ask to tag me in anything and I have to give permission to add to my time line…just so people from high school..or old friends don’t see how fat I did get.
    In your blog you say that your fam see not what you are seeing. And I LOVE that..I want to have those sweet Kodak moments with my nieces and my sister..with out freaking out about how it is going to be preconceived from others. You were totally talking my language….I am the one taking the pics and I love photography…I feel more comfortable capturing the beauty of others and their special Kodak moments..then I would for myself..
    Thank you so much for sharing your heart and your struggles too.
    Gives me somethings to think about…and I am thankful too that you are here too..because you definitely touched my heart. Thanks again!
    God Bless
    Crystal (Fields) Johnson
    Ohio

  15. Jessica says:

    Teresa, this is amazing, seeing I am also a photographer and just wrote on my personal blog last week about how unhappy I have been for years with my appearance and this is an amazing follow up for me and you really made me think, that I am not in the moments that I capture and I really need to be….no matter what my size. thank you so much for this…..you have no idea the way this has touched me!!

  16. Jeff Greenwald says:

    Not sure if you read these responses (since there are 1000′s) but I just wanted to say thank you. Your article made 100% sense and I now get what I am missing, and what others aren’t seeing despite what I have thought. Thank you.

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