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Why Do We Hate How We Look on Camera?

Posted by on Jul 31, 2013 in BLOG, camera work, Media | No Comments

Have you ever seen footage or a photo of yourself, and said some variant of:

HOLY @#$%!
I LOOK LIKE A (insert alien life form, animal you usually see on safari, Disney cartoon villain)!

Admit it, you’ve done it at least once. Thecommich knows. She understands. She does it too.

In the line of work I am in, this kind of reaction is common. So common that it’s almost as if LIKING how you look on camera makes you a weirdo – or maybe a conceited d-bag (neither of which is true, but more on that later)

But do you ever wonder WHY we hate how we look on camera? I mean, we KNOW how we look. We see ourselves in the mirror every day. Why do we suddenly, in our heads, turn into the Elephant Man’s ugly younger cousin when we view ourselves on camera?

Part of it may be false humility (i.e. I will say how horrible I look on camera so you can gently stroke my ego by telling me how gorgeous I actually am), but it turns out there are some scientific reasons why most humans react this way.

Professional photographer Duncan Davidson (who takes all the photos for TED Talks) shares his brief explanation of why people tend to hate on their on-camera selves so badly.

Turns out, seeing ourselves in the mirror everyday may contribute to our on-cam agony. Who knew?

I’m pretty sure this isn’t the end all and be all of why looking at our own footage is so excruciating. Weigh in on your theory (scientific or otherwise) in the comment space below.

***Thecommich is going to be exploring this subject in depth in the coming weeks… culminating in a super-awesome event that is so super-awesome it must be kept a secret until it’s ready! Stay tuned for more 😀

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