Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)

Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)
Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Have you ever noticed that people's profile pictures don't really look like them? Or at least, not quite the 'them' that we see? That slightly socially awkward person suddenly is looking all cool and brazen, with a smokey and pensive gleam in their eye? (WARNING: Do NOT glance to the right of this post, you will see nothing of this sort) These are usually pictures that people have taken of themselves. If I had time, I'd write a very comprehensive thesis on this fascinating subject, but for now, a short dopey blog post will suffice.

Let me let you in on a little secret. The expressions and angles that you see in people's self-taken profile pictures, are the poses that these people strike in the mirror behind a locked bathroom door.  They know the exact angle where they look the best. I know you are feeling uncomfortable, and want to distance yourself from this Hard-Hitting Truth, but deep down you know it's true. It's true for me also.

When I see pictures of myself, I often recoil, and think, oh man do I really look like that? With that big hanging over Gonzo nose? That vulture posture? Photos that other people take of you are a great way of bringing you down a peg or two.  And yet, when other people see those horrid pictures of you, they don't bat an eyelid, because that's the you they see all the time. 

No, it's the pictures that you take of yourself that people stop and bat the lids at. They are silently thinking, who the heck is that? Since when did you start pouting? Maybe this is all a waste of breath about something unimportant (er... unlike the rest of this blog..) I just think it's an interesting little thing, the way our profile pictures disclose the way we would like to be seen, and the way that often comes as a surprise to the onlooker.

PS. If my profile picture mysteriously changes in the near future to something less smokey and pensive, it is totally a coincidence, with nothing at all to do with this post.


RodeoClown said...

You obviously haven't seen my Skype picture :)

Anonymous said...

ha - I took my blog profile picture in the 2 seconds my sister had her back turned looking at the view in Paris!!

Certainly had no mirror to practice on :)

Deb said...

Now I'm deeply over-analysing my profile picture. Thanks for that!

Karen said...

If I attempt to pose for a photo to be taken of me (self or other taken), it always ends up looking stupid. Always. That's why my profile picture hasn't changed since I started blogging (I don't know how to do it either...)

My profile pic was taken at a friend's child's birthday party years ago. My husband was randomly snapping the camera and managed to get a photo of me looking happy and relaxed...very unusual. I look at it and think that it's an okay shot of me, but I think perhaps I look a little and harrassed in real life.

Jessica said...

I realised recently that my best photos are where I grin maniacally at the camera. It feels scary, but I end up with a nice smile and my braces don't draw attention. When I try a natural expression or to downplay the braces, it looks dreadful. Smoky and mysterious is therefore out.

Anonymous said...

Ugh, it's true. I recently let myself re-sign up to Facebook on the proviso that I wouldn't suddenly start taking selfies in an effort to perfectly capture my mirror face.

I'm not a decent enough draw-er to make myself look smokey and pensive in Paint: profile picture problem solved.

One for a wish.. said...

I have a friend who keeps changing her profile pic and in EVERY one she has that look from Zoolander...think it's called " blue steel"....cracks me up very time

Ali said...

Oh, well I do think my picture is a little posey, but I didn't take it myself, so am I off the hook?

kristina said...

oh. I am completely guilty of that.

Ben McLaughlin said...

It's funny, your comments either fit into the 'guilty' catagory or the 'methinks they doth protesteth too much' catagory:)

But look at my photo. So long as I have that dopey picture there, I have no grounds mock anyone else. So, be at ease, friends.

KIM said...

guilty. very, very guilty.