Be careful with the criticism

Following on from my previous post about having to look good as a professional singer, I am going to talk about looking good in photos, videos and TV appearances.

When you can’t see, that is the most challenging. Especially photos, because they show one moment in time, yet they are still so the moment is captured. And if you’re not looking your best, everybody can have a go at you for not looking your best.

This doesn’t of course only apply to blind people. Take your favourite celebrity for instance and I can guarantee you that there are some unfortunate snaps of them out there.

Honestly, I could care less what strangers think of my photos. If I have a bad day, or moment that’s been photographed and they think I’m ugly, so be it.

The worst is to get criticism from friends. Especially accompanied by “But you didn’t have visual control”. Implying consciously or subconsciously that if you could see, you’d never let anyone take a picture of you like that, even if you were in control.

The annoying thing, bitchy as it may sound, is how this is a one way criticism lane.

If they put out unfortunate looking photos of themselves, I can’t really comment back.
a) Because I may never know about them
b) Because if somebody tells me about the bad photo, that person will know I and someone else have been slagging them off to each other. And that’s not nice and grown-up.
c) And it may give the person I criticise the feeling that I’ve spent time looking for bad things to say about their photos.

It’s a hard one. It’s not as if someone can’t advise me about photos. But it’s all about how it’s done and how frequently. No, I don’t have visual control, but if you recognize that I’m trying my best, it doesn’t help me when you say “You are doing your best; it’s the people around you that mess it up.”

One type of criticism that works and is constructive, is for example “That photo looks good, but next time, keep this or that in mind. whatever it may be.” It sounds similar, but makes a huge difference to how I see it.

And as mentioned, a photo is a frozen moment in time. And you may not always know the story or situation behind that moment. Just remember that.

When it comes to videos and TV appearances it’s slightly easier, because you have a little bit more control. But constructive criticism is the key here too.

I got out right mad when one of my friends told me I looked like a sack of flour during an interview, “although you spoke well”.

However, when she broke it down and told me subtle things I could change, like sitting slightly differently, turning more directly to the people interviewing me etc, it made a huge difference. Instead of being the stupid blindy who looked like a bag of flour, I was just a regular girl who could adjust a few things.

I may be extra sensitive to words. But I think, especially when talking about very visual things with someone who can’t see, the words you use make so much difference. Ad maybe sometimes, if it’s clearly the people around me that has’t managed to capture me perfectly, don’t say so. It’s not always necessary.

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