I can’t make a normal face in pictures: a photo essay

A thing that people might be surprised to learn is that my mom is a professional photographer.  She’s worked for major newspapers and shot everything from democratic/republican conventions, to Broadway shows, to riots, and hurricanes.  But she was never able to get me to take what she called a “normal photo.”  She was super patient and would constantly tell me “now stop making that face.  Put your eyebrow down.  Smile.  No.  Smile like a person would smile,” but all to virtually zero results.

Nothing has really changed in my adult life, except that now I actively avoid being in photos taken by other people because I will always just look crazy.  I’m not totally sure what’s up with my face, but even I can’t seem to snap a moment when I’m not looking totally ridiculous:

What is this? Am I trying to suck in the bottom part of my face and winking with the entire left side of my face? I don’t even remember MAKING this face!

What’s happening here? Why am I so excited to look out a train window. You can see in the background that nothing is happening out there.

One of the tricks i learned at some point was that looking out of frame/distracted seemed to provide enough of an illusion of “normal face” that I do it all the time now. Illusion spoiled.

My arms look pretty good here, but wtf is that face. Why is my mouth open?? Why are my eyes half closed? It looks like I’m just about to watch the camera fall off the ledge as it takes the photo.

This one. I don’t even know. I will tell you that my mouth is full of peanut butter. But I still don’t know how we got here. Again with the half face wink!

This one was deliberately dumb. But even still. This is pretty much how I look when other people take my photo.


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