Aunt Angela on taking photographs

Questioner iconDear Aunt Angela:

I hate having my photograph taken. I have several friends who take my photograph constantly, even though they know I don’t like it. What can I do?

Yours truly, Anonymous

Aunt AngelaDear Anonymous:

I do sympathize with you, my dear. So many individuals carry these little digital cameras everywhere with them today, and — sadly — they take them out and flash them in one’s face at the most inopportune times. You may find this unbelievable, but I have seen people actually photograph their friends eating.

Much depends on the degree of your opposition. If you are adamant that you want no photographs at all, ever, you might take your friends aside, one at a time, and quietly point this out to them. If they completely disregard your wishes, you might want to reflect on the value of their company.

“First seek to understand” is a motto that is perhaps relevant here. Your friends are quite likely so enamoured of your appearance that they yearn to capture your elusive beauty on film. If you are somewhat opposed but willing to compromise a little, you might suggest that they take just one photograph of you on each occasion, giving you notice ahead of time so that you can be prepared for it.

Good luck. A colleague less considerate than myself suggests that you should obtain a camera and attempt to capture your friends with spinach in their teeth, but naturally I disassociate myself from such an attitude.

Yours in etiquette, Aunt Angela


2 thoughts on “Aunt Angela on taking photographs

  1. As always, you cut to the very heart of the matter; I find myself asking “What would Aunt Angela do?” whenever I find myself in a quandary.

    And since the topic is photography: might we suggest (gently, hopefully) that you ask one of your talented photographer friends to supply an alternative portrait for your postings? They say that there is truth in every photograph, but we remain of the opinion that you are far less severe than your current portrait would suggest.

  2. Dear Aunt Angela,

    As always, you handle the topic at hand with great diplomacy. You perform a wonderful service to your readers: both those who find themselves in a situation they feel unable to handle and those who are unaware that they may be acting in a manner that is less than socially acceptable.

    I would like to add, for those of your readers who may have similar habits as those described in your recent article, that some people may also have particular religious backgrounds that are violated by being captured on film. I once read, for example, of a group of people who believe that having their photo taken somehow takes their soul. This would seem a most dangerous act for them. Still others may feel that it could reveal the true nature of their being — one may ask, for example, why some people always seem to have red eyes when captured on film. A curious phenomenon indeed.

    In any case, I do find your latest advice most useful and thank you for it. The world is a better place…or at least a more civil one.


    Anon Fan

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