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Hatred of photo taking

post #1 of 189
Thread Starter 
What do you do when one member of your family will NOT allow themselves to be photographed? Like ever?

I'm so sad over this and it's been going on now for 2+ years. It started out gradually with refusing a full smile, to now a full on glare or a hand in front of the face.

Our tradition of family photographs for Christmas cards is over. Our last years was ruined, but I sent it out anyway because I paid for them. It was 3 happy smiling people with one child giving death ray eyes at the camera.

Her school picture this year appears to be that of a forlorn and very angry child. Last year's was a very very tiny smile. I can't hang them on the wall or give them out. She looks miserable, and I don't want the whole "What's wrong with her?!" questions and then when I say "She hates having her picture taken" they say "No child of mine would have gotten away with that crap!" (Oookay you have figured out the cure?)

Yesterday the kids were opening presents. One child full on smiles and cooperation, the other child gave me the "talk to the hand" motion thing and she holds her head down so her hair is in her face.

I have over 2 years of scrapbooks/albums on hold because well we have really no pictures of the oldest child. Aside from the angry eyes when we do happen to capture her by mere chance, and the pictures obscured by her hand or hair 99.999% of them.

I've had it. I agree that it's her right to object, or not be photographed. I don't even try anymore, or I'll take a picture of whatever she's willing to give me, the side of her face with her hair totally covering her face, or her back.

I'm just really frankly sick of it.

I went through an awkward stage where I didn't enjoy photos, but I never ran from cameras, or totally opted out of family photos.

Relatives are asking questions and I keep saying she hates having her picture taken.

I guess the worst part is the heartbreak over not being able to preserve memories because they are tainted by her ruining pictures or refusing to be in them.

How do I record family life and explain no dd #1?

It's really stressing me out.

(And we've reasoned and asked and talked. She just flat out doesn't want her picture taken. She's Aspergers-ish, though undiagnosed so I don't know if that plays into it.)

And she's beautiful. Dark dark hair, very white skin and striking blue/green eyes. I haven't seen her smile or seen her whole face since she got a hair cut and was dipped into the hairwashing tub, and I saw her pretty little face for once.
post #2 of 189
Have you offered to give her veto over any photos after the fact? Maybe she is worried she won't like the photos & they'll end up in the family albums. Ask if you can take the photos & then she can go through them with you before any one else gets to see them & delete any she truly doesn't like.
post #3 of 189
Quote:
Originally Posted by lifeguard View Post
Have you offered to give her veto over any photos after the fact? Maybe she is worried she won't like the photos & they'll end up in the family albums. Ask if you can take the photos & then she can go through them with you before any one else gets to see them & delete any she truly doesn't like.
This sounds like a great idea.

What about a reward?
post #4 of 189
As someone who has never liked to be photographed, I'd say just respect her wishes and drop it. You don't need to offer excuses to other people.
post #5 of 189
i am like your dd in a different sorta way.

i dont believe in pictures. more people take pictures of my dd than i do.

for me my thougths are my best scrap book. the whole feeling around it - the sights, smell, sound.

i would really just talk to your dd heart to heart. just let her know you want just a few pictures. what seh is doing in the picture is really not your concern. i understand where seh is coming from. i have taken professional photographs maybe twice in dd's 7 years. they are soo 'happy' and false according to me. my fav pictures are impromptu ones that capture their personality.

my friend's 7 year old also HATES his picture taken. but his mom and i have spoken to him and asked him to just be in a picture just once or twice. like when he lost all his front tooth, he did allow one picture. mostly they are direct serious looks. but taht's waht makes the photograph precious to me coz it shows his personality.

i dont need photographs of my dd. they all live in my heart. and seriously the only person who is intereted in the photographs are just me. others dont really care that much.

thought you might enjoy hearing from another camera shy person.
post #6 of 189
I might bribe for a picture. It's all for you, it's not like it'll matter if she doesn't develop any intrinsic desire to have herself photographed, you know? Does she let you wash her hair?

And how old is she?
post #7 of 189
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lifeguard View Post
Have you offered to give her veto over any photos after the fact? Maybe she is worried she won't like the photos & they'll end up in the family albums. Ask if you can take the photos & then she can go through them with you before any one else gets to see them & delete any she truly doesn't like.

Yes. It isn't about her thinking she looks bad in photos, it's about control and her not wanting her photo taken period. She ducks and covers her face every single time. In previous years we've used real live animal props (her cat for instance lol) in the family photo, or we've allowed her to be in profile so she doesn't really have to smile. Now it's no photo period.

She takes my camera and deletes ANY and ALL pictures of herself.

Rewards and bribing have never worked with her.

She's 14 btw, and this photo-aversion thing started gradually when she was in the 6th grade.

She's very stubborn. If she doesn't want to do something it's not happening.

She hates any attention being drawn to herself, she's an introvert and it's getting more pronounced the older she gets.

I guess I allowed it at first out of respect, I certainly don't enjoy people taking my picture when I'd rather not be in one.

Seems I've created a monster, as she doesn't feel obligated to ever be photographed.
post #8 of 189
Quote:
Originally Posted by EFmom View Post
As someone who has never liked to be photographed, I'd say just respect her wishes and drop it. You don't need to offer excuses to other people.
Absolutely. I hate having my picture taken. I think that this needs to be respected. I DEEPLY believe that this needs to be respected.
post #9 of 189
Thread Starter 
I got a lot of feedback right after I posted!

She's 14. She's never been bribable. We've offered HUGE incentives before and it's a "no."

So for the "I hate pictures, leave her alone" voters- what about family albums years down the road when it appears little sister was loved and doted on more?

What if she regrets it, or feels pain when she grows up when she sees no her in the family pictures?

I just (as a highly sensitive and sentimental person from an abusive and neglectful background who is very very worried about doing her children right) cannot make scrapbooks and make an album that says "Christmas 2009" and have captions "DD #2 decorating the tree. DD #2 decorating cookies. DD #2 opening presents." No DD #1. Or "DD #1's hand as she opens presents. DD #1's death ray glare on a supposedly happy occasion."

How do I enclose pictures of my kids in cards for my parents when one child looks horrible in her picture? I actually feel that it's borderline abusive to let anyone see her school picture this year. She looks like she's about to cry. When I've only sent one child's picture they all say "Why didn't you get retakes?"

I don't know what to do. I'm just sick of it.

I totally get not wanting your picture taken, but I can't get her to even do a couple of token photos.

The ones I have are ruined by her sullen angry glare, or her turning her back on the photo.

Is it a phase?
post #10 of 189
Quote:
Originally Posted by lifeguard View Post
Have you offered to give her veto over any photos after the fact? Maybe she is worried she won't like the photos & they'll end up in the family albums. Ask if you can take the photos & then she can go through them with you before any one else gets to see them & delete any she truly doesn't like.
That's a great idea if that didn't work I would do what EFmom said and let it go and not force her to be in photos against her wishes.

I don't think you should use bribes on kids but that's just me....
post #11 of 189
Ah, she's 14. I was thinking she was 3 or 4. Sorry.

My mom is also like this. She is a PITA to get to pose for pictures. I finally blew up at her and pointed out one day that it wasn't all about her and that I wanted the pictures for myself because she wasn't going to live forever and I wanted to be able to show my grandkids what she looked like and have pictures for myself to remember her. She's in her 60s, though, so able to be slightly less selfish.

BUT! I do think it's selfish. I hope none of the pps are offended, but pictures are really not for the photographed, unless you're getting portraits at Sears. It's for the loved ones who want to have a picture of you. So maybe you could point that out to her.
post #12 of 189
My husband is the same way, it's so annoying to me. We had "family pics" taken yesterday at the holiday get together. Me and my 2 boys. My husband was playing Wii and wouldn't participate, he hates pictures. It sucks to be honest, I have literally 3 or 4 pictures of him with the boys.... it makes me sad.

I sympathize with your OP, I wish I could offer some advice...
post #13 of 189
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuamami View Post
Ah, she's 14. I was thinking she was 3 or 4. Sorry.

My mom is also like this. She is a PITA to get to pose for pictures. I finally blew up at her and pointed out one day that it wasn't all about her and that I wanted the pictures for myself because she wasn't going to live forever and I wanted to be able to show my grandkids what she looked like and have pictures for myself to remember her. She's in her 60s, though, so able to be slightly less selfish.

BUT! I do think it's selfish. I hope none of the pps are offended, but pictures are really not for the photographed, unless you're getting portraits at Sears. It's for the loved ones who want to have a picture of you. So maybe you could point that out to her.
As someone who hates being photographed, this doesn't fly for me. It's not going to make me any less uncomfortable getting my photo taken. Unless you are going to pay to have a professional take good candid shots of me then no. Photos of me taken by regular people or those horrible posed portrait shots look nothing like the way I look in real life so it would be useless as a reminder photo anyway.

I would just drop it, if she's as stubborn as I am, you'll just make the issue worse by pressing it.
post #14 of 189
Saying this as one formerly abused child to another--stop projecting your fears onto her.

I think forcing children to smile and be happy for the family photograph is just as abusive as sending an imperfect one out. Who are you to tell her that she looks "awful" just because she ducked or put her hand up? Why not just be able to accept her as is. Surely your family knows this quirk of hers (I assume she does this for all photos, not just yours). So what's the big deal? They know you love her. You don't need the perfect family photograph for her to feel loved.

If she feels slighted now, seeing better photographs will NOT make it better in the future. And if she feels whole and loved by you and her family, then even the worst photograph cannot take it away.

It really sounds like the person with the problem is you. And I don't say this to be mean. You have no idea how many times I have had to bite my tongue to bleeding and literally sit on my hands to keep from pestering my children to death for a nice image so that I can prove to the world that my family is great, that they will remember it as great, so no one can accuse me of having it be less than great--even though I know that it's all a lie (that a photo is evidence for or against, or that it will build or destroy memories), and I know how hollow picture perfect images ring for me when I look at the family portraits of my childhood (I have them, but feel ill at the thought of displaying them)...I still want that.

And that is MY problem, not my child's. I finally was able to let go of controlling the school pictures this year.

You cannot answer the what ifs that she might feel in the future because you have absolutely no control over it. That doesn't have anything to do with pictures. And other people are going to think what they think no matter what. Yeah, it sucks that you always wanted to have nice portraits for holiday cards or to put into scrapbooks. I get that, really, I do. I do. But that is your need to fill your desire. It's okay to be mad and sad about it. But eventually you've got to just deal with reality too. Unless you're going to bind her hands and aquanet her hair in place, you can't make your DD do anything. So perhaps you can negotiate with her for OTHER things you can put into the scrapbook (her art? her writing?). And maybe you can try to cultivate a sense of humor about the pictures (I see no harm in getting one done per year, or so, as long as you don't have the expectation that it'll change. Maybe it will and you can have a wonderful suprise. Who knows.)

But the picture is not the memories. It won't replace parenting and love. Your DD may regret it or not, but you can't rewind time, and it's really her decision. If she decides to have her picture taken nicely in the future, then you'll be able to have those pictures. But I don't think you can force someone to have a nice picture if they don't want to. It's okay to grieve that if it's really important to you, that's probably just part of the process of coming to terms with things.

But you can't live your life wondering about someone else's uncontrollable what ifs. Even if they're your kid.
post #15 of 189
Thread Starter 
A lot of what you've said is not the reality of my situation. I'm trying to do what is best for my daughter. I've got it now, no more pictures. I'm ok with that, it's still sad to me though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post
Saying this as one formerly abused child to another--stop projecting your fears onto her. I'm saying I don't want her to feel like I loved her less when in 10 years she goes through pictures and sees relatively none of herself.

I think forcing children to smile and be happy for the family photograph is just as abusive as sending an imperfect one out. I've NEVER once asked her to force a smile or happiness in a photo, most of her childhood pictures are candid photos, very nice ones. She now actually glares at the camera- that's not acceptable for photos you plan on sending to people. So I have stopped trying.Who are you to tell her that she looks "awful" just because she ducked or put her hand up? Where did I say I told her she looked "awful"? I've NEVER in the history of my daughters life told her she looked awful. I've told her that I don't want a picture of her hand. And I've said "You don't have to smile. I'm not trying to take a picture of YOU, but of the room full of people so just ignore me. You don't have to look into the camera. You don't have to pose. You don't have to smile. You don't....blah blah blah. I'm telling you people on this message board that photos with a blurry hand in them over the face of the subject look awful. Her glaring in a family Christmas picture (not just not smiling, but actual glaring) is awful. It isn't that she looks awful, it's just an awful situation. Her school pictures were awful, she doesn't like them either. Who wants a picture of a child about to cry? And I NEVER told her they were awful, I just said "Hey, you look upset in your school picture what happened?" And she told me the photographer was a jerk. End of story. I didn't bemoan the fact that imo the pictures were ruined, and I didn't force her to do retakes......Why not just be able to accept her as is. Surely your family knows this quirk of hers (I assume she does this for all photos, not just yours). So what's the big deal? Mostly I don't want her to grow up and feel that she wasn't as loved as little sister because she has no evidence of her growing up years. They know you love her. You don't need the perfect family photograph for her to feel loved. I'm not interested in the perfect family picture- I'm not that person. There's no perfect here. I don't lick my kids hair and faces before we get out of the car to enter a store like my mom did lol. We've actually never had a family portrait taken. The family Christmas picture I spoke of was always a goofy picture (we've done funny things through the years) taken candidly by us with a timer.) My mom thinks it's hilarious and great that DD is asserting herself. I do accept her. I am trying to come to grips with this. I'm actually not photograph obsessed. I'm a horrible procrastinating scrapbooker, and I don't hover and document every micro event in my children's lives. I actually don't really even like taking pictures, but do on occasion so we can look back later on and see how the kids looked at different ages.

If she feels slighted now, seeing better photographs will NOT make it better in the future. And if she feels whole and loved by you and her family, then even the worst photograph cannot take it away. I don't think she feels slighted right now. Right now she's just not interested in pictures. I get that. I do, it's just like it's finally dawned on me really and I'm grieving. I get a lot of flack about it, and it's upsetting to me because I love her.

It really sounds like the person with the problem is you. I don't think I phrased it as "her problem", I was mostly curious if it's common or if I was alone in having a kid that didn't want to be photographed.)And I don't say this to be mean. I hear you, it's ok I know it's not mean.You have no idea how many times I have had to bite my tongue to bleeding and literally sit on my hands to keep from pestering my children to death for a nice image so that I can prove to the world that my family is great, I've never tried to prove that. It's not about other people, it's about my kid turning from a completely happy to be photographed kid (not forced smiles, just reg old candid stuff) to a child that will not allow me to preserve her image.that they will remember it as great, so no one can accuse me of having it be less than great--even though I know that it's all a lie (that a photo is evidence for or against, or that it will build or destroy memories), and I know how hollow picture perfect images ring for me when I look at the family portraits of my childhood (I have them, but feel ill at the thought of displaying them)...I still want that. Well exactly, I'd rather not take her picture at all if she looks like she's going to commit homicide, or cry. I don't want to embarrass her, or harrass her, or disrespect her.

And that is MY problem, not my child's. I finally was able to let go of controlling the school pictures this year. I'm ok with letting go of "control", but the thing is do I just not buy a picture package knowing I'm going to get a pissed off looking kid? Or does that say, "I don't love you as much because you won't smile in your picture so I'm not going to buy them? Seriously I don't want her to be hurt.

You cannot answer the what ifs that she might feel in the future because you have absolutely no control over it. That doesn't have anything to do with pictures. And other people are going to think what they think no matter what. Yeah, it sucks that you always wanted to have nice portraits for holiday cards or to put into scrapbooks. I get that, really, I do. I do. But that is your need to fill your desire. It's okay to be mad and sad about it. But eventually you've got to just deal with reality too. Unless you're going to bind her hands and aquanet her hair in place, you can't make your DD do anything. I never posted about making her do it. I was posting about being sad about the fact that it's not possible.So perhaps you can negotiate with her for OTHER things you can put into the scrapbook (her art? her writing?). And maybe you can try to cultivate a sense of humor about the pictures (I see no harm in getting one done per year, or so, as long as you don't have the expectation that it'll change. Maybe it will and you can have a wonderful suprise. Who knows.) We do have a sense of humor. When she brought home her school pictures and her dad saw them and gasped and said "Oh my gosh!" She put her hand over her mouth because she was giggling.

But the picture is not the memories. It won't replace parenting and love. Your DD may regret it or not, but you can't rewind time, and it's really her decision. If she decides to have her picture taken nicely in the future, then you'll be able to have those pictures. But I don't think you can force someone to have a nice picture if they don't want to. It's okay to grieve that if it's really important to you, that's probably just part of the process of coming to terms with things.

But you can't live your life wondering about someone else's uncontrollable what ifs. Even if they're your kid.
Anyway....this has sort of spun out of control, and we've looked at all the facets of photo hatred vs controlling mommy who wants to force cheesiness to prove to the world that she's a good mommy......

I was just sad about pictures. That's all really.

I'm going to let it go and not even ask her anymore.
post #16 of 189
Quote:
Originally Posted by Porcelain Interior View Post
I got a lot of feedback right after I posted!

She's 14. She's never been bribable. We've offered HUGE incentives before and it's a "no."

So for the "I hate pictures, leave her alone" voters- what about family albums years down the road when it appears little sister was loved and doted on more?

Ask her what she would like you to save. A poem, short story, art work, song, science project, etc...that she created might be a better way to represent her.

What if she regrets it, or feels pain when she grows up when she sees no her in the family pictures?

She might not. I refused to sit for a lot of family photos, and I have no regret. I was missing from the photo by MY choice, I'm quite fine with that. If you coerce her into the photos, there's a chance that when she looks at the photos she'll remember the resentment, not thank you for forcing her. She's 14, she'll remember why she wasn't in the photos.

I just (as a highly sensitive and sentimental person from an abusive and neglectful background who is very very worried about doing her children right) cannot make scrapbooks and make an album that says "Christmas 2009" and have captions "DD #2 decorating the tree. DD #2 decorating cookies. DD #2 opening presents." No DD #1. Or "DD #1's hand as she opens presents. DD #1's death ray glare on a supposedly happy occasion."

Are these candid photos where you inobtussively take photos of the kids doing things, or are you saying "now smile for the camera!" or "stop just like that so I can get a photo!"? If you happen to be getting the photos the second way you might want to try the first. The interruptions for documentation can feel very intrusive and interrupt the flow of the fun, and for some people it feels like the photographer is trying to control their life.

How do I enclose pictures of my kids in cards for my parents when one child looks horrible in her picture? I actually feel that it's borderline abusive to let anyone see her school picture this year. She looks like she's about to cry. When I've only sent one child's picture they all say "Why didn't you get retakes?"

It sounds like a lot of those photos are posed photos. Those can be really really stressful to someone who isn't comfortable getting photographed. What about doing collages instead? You could have photos of each of the cooperative children, and then ask your daughter to choose a piece of her artwork to represent her, or if there happens to be a candid photo she likes (the best photos are candids), or even a photo of her hand or something...whatever she's comfortable with as a representation of her.

Or would she be willing to make a self portrait on a popsicle stick to hold in front of her face in photos? I reallise it's not traditional, but she would still be represented in the photos, and since she would have control over her image it may help her feel comfortable. Or maybe she could have a signature hat that hid her face? Does she like books? She could be "reading" a book in some photos. If the photos are light hearted it could work. If you wanted to ballance it out, everybody else could choose costumes to fit their personality or something.


I don't know what to do. I'm just sick of it.

Be openminded, and creative.

I totally get not wanting your picture taken, but I can't get her to even do a couple of token photos.

The ones I have are ruined by her sullen angry glare, or her turning her back on the photo.

Is it a phase?
Relax, lack of photos is not neglect or abuse.
post #17 of 189
Oh, I thought she was younger too, 6 or 7.

I think you just have to respect her. Yeah, it is really disappointing, but you'll have to find peace with this, and so will the rest of the family.

She's old enough now to know in the future why her sister will be in the spotlight.

post #18 of 189
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rachelsmama View Post
Relax, lack of photos is not neglect or abuse.
This is a HUGE bullseye for me. I am crying. Thank you for saying that.

I needed to hear that.
post #19 of 189
PI, if other people are giving you flack about it, then they are being mean or oblivious, in which case they have no right or basis for judging you!

To be honest, with school pictures I just order the class picture, and the minimal picture pack (normally a 5x7 plus a few wallets to take up the rest of the sheet). My photoshy child (1 out of 3 hates photos) generally wants the class picture (well, all of them seem more excited about that, but after elementary school there won't be class pictures I assume), otherwise I'd just order the minimum so that when relatives crab at me about not having a picture, they can have one. May not be what they wanted, but oh well...their problem not mine.

Again, I think it's okay to grieve. I just didn't want you to worry about the other stuff, because it really isn't evidence of favortism or less love if there aren't as many pictures--by request! If anything, that proves that you treated your kiddos as individuals, and that you respect and honor your daughter's wishes. To me, that's worth more than being like everyone else or what other people want, KWIM?
post #20 of 189
We believe in mostly CL. That means that 1 person doesn't get to wreck things for everyone else. We do things that are good for everyone.

At the age of 14 she's old enough to suffer through and let her picture be taken. It's no longer a phase and straight disrespect to the rest of the family. She's not a toddler anymore.

I can't imagine letting it go on for that long. It really has nothing to do with her comfort any more. You aren't even asking her to do anything. Being in a candid photo requires no effort on her part. You are simply asking her not do something which actively ruins the photo.

Although, I would personally keep taking pictures of her regardless of what she does. If you don't want to make a big issue about it, then just ignore her selfish behavior. Take the candid photos, put them in scrap books, show them to people just like normal.
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