Getting my picture taken is not my favorite thing. Despite the fact that I can air many of my vulnerabilities here, there is something about being photographed that makes me feel so very naked. Not in a good way.
Add to that a mysterious talent for closing my eyes at exactly the same time as the camera clicks.
Fortunately, Kevin had a way of putting me at ease. After greeting me with a warm hug, he asked, “So tell me what you don’t like about yourself.”
I thought for a moment, trying to figure out where to start. I began listing my physical flaws.
“I have a nose smile,” I confessed, referencing the little slash that blooms beneath my nose when I grin. “And sometimes in pictures I look a little cross-eyed.” I almost started in on my “strong” nose, and hadn’t even gotten to body parts below the neck, but Kevin was ready to get started.
As Kevin drove, we chatted about my writing so he could get a sense of what to capture in my photographs. I told him I wrote mostly about parenting and grief and spirit, and that— SPOILER ALERT!— I was working on launching a new website. Our conversation flowed easily, and I felt instantly comfortable.
I was stunned, having seen some of his gorgeous photos on Facebook.
At one point, he was photographing me from my left side. “You do have a bit of a lazy eye,” he said.
“Yeah, I do that,” I admitted.
Back at the studio, Kevin scrolled through the images he’d taken, selecting favorites. We swiftly narrowed it down to our top four favorites, and then he began lightly editing them. “Turn this way,” he said. I did. “Do you have some carrot in your teeth?” he asked, an eyebrow lifted.
“Oh, dear God.” I stared at his computer screen, where a big chunk of carrot was wedged between my back teeth. I watched as he digitally flossed my teeth.
As Kevin worked on the photos, I sat there thinking about imperfection. About my Forest Whitaker eye and my carrot teeth and my nose smile. When I zoomed out and focused on the whole picture, the photos looked really, really good. So why was I focusing on the imperfections, which we all have?
Ever since I left the studio, I’ve been thinking about superpowers and imperfection.
“I know you don’t,” I said, with a gentle smile.