Monday 1 March 2010

My photograph is a liar

Attributing human qualities to inanimate objects reflects the literature background of the one writing. Have you ever heard this: "When I saw your picture, I thought you were blah blah blah but when I am talking to you, it is a contradiction." Boo. Now this statement mildly irritates me. Judging and second guessing the person's traits from the image. It happens all the time. Now even psychologists assert that within five minutes of seeing a photograph, the individual is judged and discerned. NO. It cannot happen. Based on experiences and previous analysis, one often tries to dissect the image and perceive it. Well, the perceived becomes the real until (I don't know when).

I am guilty of this as well. "Well, he looks arrogant," "She looks like an angel" -- The first judgment is on the characteristics and the second is based on looks. The first one can be wrong and the second one, I don't know. Why is that every time we seek to fence and border one's personality based on images, looks and voice. I might look absolutely adorable in a photograph but in reality I can be someone who is quite adorable but with shades of gray! Now does that qualify as adorable?

The 'About Me' column is another shade of the image. Again judgments are made reading the 'About Me' column and probably that is why many individuals don't mind writing and filling up those columns. You may say that it is my perception that images are often projections but not reality. Maybe. In a certain frame of mind even I would take that position. But not today.

So all said and done, my photograph is a liar or perhaps it is but a partial truth to the real me.

Image courtesy: Internet


  1. True:) A prevelant yet instilled mental habit to form whole judgments upon not neccessarily reflective elements.

    However, regardless of how powerfully you endeavor to stand against this annoying habit, you will fail to avoid utilizing it sometimes as the process of deliberate and inclusive thinking does not progress seldom.

    great post, i loved it truly

  2. Mohamed:

    Sad but true but that is my grouse -- Not to be pigeon-holed into definition of ME through images.

    Thanks for coming by.

    Joy always.

  3. This post struck a cord with me Susan.
    I am aware of this human trait most of the time. It was the thought predominant in my mind, when I was creating my blog. I do not have an About Me section and I have not put up my snap. I think my thoughts at the time was that I want the blog to speak for itself. Had no idea what I would write there, but I did not want my age, my picture or About Me information, adding or aiding in any manner.

  4. Whatever it means...I love the photo! After the my last post my mind is thinking in jibberish but it can definitely relate to the photo!
    Jeanne :)

  5. Oh, I do like your last sentence, Susan. It seems to state a reality... at least from my perspective. Of course, we all have different ways of seeing things. And, why do we judge like we do? Because humans are lazy and weak (though we don't like to think we are - but here I am being so very judgmental!) and so it's easy for us to compartmentalize and "box" things into categories so that it's easier for us to understand them and deal with them. We're such funny beings, aren't we?


  6. Ashley:

    Ashley you surprise me with your insights and thoughts. I am glad. I also thought about all those aspects but then was too tempted to fill the 'about me' column and add my picture.


    I know sometimes that one needs a respite no matter what. I hope you are feeling nice and happy now. Well, what can I say. Thanks for relating to the photo :)


    Yes Nevine. The last line is definitely a reality. It happens with me all the time. In a particular phase, my perspective is different from what I earlier assumed. We are very funny beings indeed. Everyone applauds the faculty of thought and thinking and use it as a tool to differentiate it from other organisms. But sometimes I just feel that the power of thinking makes humans very vulnerable.

    Joy always.

  7. Lovely expressed as always.
    I am very perceptive and I am too guilty of judging objects and subjects by the picture.
    I distinguish greatly between physical beauty and inner beauty. And charisma. Often one can glimpse the soul through the eyes. Even on a picture. As they are snapshots of a moment. Therefore even though I form an opinion about someone through a picture (it is only human;), I keep an open mind until I meet the person in reality.;)
    And I love your picture.;)

  8. Zuzana:

    I liked the way you have expressed yourself: "I distinguish greatly between physical beauty and inner beauty. And charisma."

    One can glimpse the soul through the eyes, my mother always says so. And to some extent it is very true.

    Zuzana as always you are quite generous with compliments. I appreciate that trait in you.

    Joy always.

  9. Photographs don't have my expressions, transitions from expression to expression, that warmth in my smile,my personality.. that vibe that I have.. my photograph is not me!!

    I hate it when people judge by photographs.. ya.. and if you are photogenic.. God! Thats like the worst thing.. in my case someone actually told me this.. " Ya.. your that photograph.. you look a lot different.. that's like a different person! I must say you look a lot better in your photographs!"

    As usual fantastic and thought provoking post!

  10. Dear Sameera:

    True. We don't want to be packaged through the eyes of a photograph or voice but we do it most of the times. I do it and as I have mentioned, I am guilty of it. Trying to gradually overcome that 'oh-its-a-habit' trait of mine.

  11. I really like this post, Susan. Especially the ambiguity in it, you succeed in reflecting the complexity that lays behind the "image vs. reality".

    reminds me of Henry James's short stories, as he played with the idea of "imagination & reality". somehow, it reminds me of his "The Figure in the Carpet" story... I think I'll be going back to rereading it now.

    thanks for the insight

    hugs, khulud

  12. For this reason alone I didn't put up any photos of me until after I had blogged for an year. One of my readers was so curious as to what I looked, that she googled me to find photos. I figured that a few photos wouldn't hurt, but I kept the comment section closed.
    So, yes, I agree with you. There are many 'shades of gray' to me.

  13. Khulud:

    All said and done, I like you new picture!!! Contradiction. It always happens. I was precisely thinking of the "Image vs Reality" aspect when I was writing this post. I guess even I should read that story. Thanks for coming by dear Khulud.

    Joy always.


    Good enough. Sometimes it becomes "writing vs our image" and that is a bit irritating. Thanks for reiterating the contents of the post. I am glad that you came by.

    Joy always.

  14. Susan dropping in after a long time.. Huh!!

    At times, I do have intuitions on the character of certain persons,seeing their face. But never had one on seeing a photograph. And I won't just go and tell them, but I would smile if I feel my intuitions are true.

    And the about me spaces, its what most people wish to be rather than what they are..But why should people be afraid of the verdicts others make on reading it..??

  15. Dear Shahid:

    First: Thanks for coming. Even I have those intuitions but they are of a different order completely. It is not being afraid or uncomfortable but the very act of confining an individual based on images that is quite intriguing. The post was rather a reflection on my acts of judging as well. After this post, i have mellowed down consciously and reworking at not pigeon holing personalities based on images.

    These days talking to a real person also does not give a 'real' picture. You know what i mean when I say this.



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