Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Daily Archives: July 1, 2013

Why portrait photography is so difficult…

An article in The Guardian reveals an insight into how we, all of us, think about how we look. It is not an article about photography but it does answer why subjects dislike photos of themselves, and surprisingly it has little to do with our skills as photographers. Here are a couple of sections that if you find interesting may tempt you to read the rest.

Psychologist and behavioural scientist Nicholas Epley oversaw a key study into self-enhancement and attractiveness. Rather than have people simply rate their beauty compared with others, he asked them to identify an original photograph of themselves from a lineup including versions that had been morphed to appear more and less attractive. Visual recognition, reads the study, is “an automatic psychological process, occurring rapidly and intuitively with little or no apparent conscious deliberation”. If the subjects quickly chose a falsely flattering image – which most did – they genuinely believed it was really how they looked……..Knowing the results of Epley’s study, it makes sense that many people hate photographs of themselves so viscerally – on one level, they don’t even recognise the person in the picture as themselves.

You can read the rest here