Why we hate our pictures being take Pt.2

Well I wrote a part one, so I guess it would just be wrong not to write a part 2 and I think I've left you on the edge of your seats for long enough.  

So in the last blog post I did on this subject I suggested one reason people might hate photos of themselves is due to over analysis. You see yourself in the mirror most mornings and one day you notice your nose leans a little to the left. From then on you can't help but notice it in every single photo. Whereas no one else has noticed, or really even cares. 

But the more I read, and the more I think about this aversion people have to photographs of themselves, the more I think it has to do with what's call the  Uncanny Valley.

This is usually used to describe things such as computer animations that look so close to real, that there's something off putting about it. It looks right, but not right. The 2007 movie Beowulf , while having some amazing CGI, suffered greatly from this phenomenon, and if you watch the trailer below you might understand why. Their faces just seem... off.

So what does this have to do with why we hate photos of ourselves? 

Well think about this question: What is the most common way you see yourself? 

Of course for most people the answer is going to be "in the mirror" Apart from recorded mediums such as photographs and video, we as humans only see ourselves as a reflection.  Now as a quick exercise grab your phone or camera and snap a quick picture of yourself. Now walk over to the mirror and compare what you see in the mirror with what you see on your phone.

The picture on my phone just doesn't look right, my hair is parted on the wrong side, that scar in my eyebrow is on the left of the picture and my smile looks wrong, why? The answer as you know is that the picture on your phone isn't reflected. My hair parts to the right, but in the photo it goes from the right of the frame to the left.

This is where the uncanny valley part comes into it. We're so used to seeing a reflection of ourselves that when we look at a photo, it looks like us, but not in the way we're used to seeing ourselves. Our brain says that's us, but somethings not right. Everyone around us can be saying it's a great photo of us, but in our eyes it just looks wrong.

You can test this out a little simply by opening a photo of yourself in a program that allows you to flip the picture horizontally and flipping the picture. All of a sudden things look a little better. Nothings actually changed on the picture, you're just seeing it now how you're used to seeing it. Of course now everyone else is going to look at it and think something's not quite right.


The important thing to remember though is that if you're looking at a picture of yourself and you just don't like it and yet everyone else tells you it's a great picture... You should probably listen to them, because they know what you look like better than you do.