Tuesday, May 01, 2007
There is a phenomenon amongst teenagers that I have observed over and over again.
Apart from the small percentage of kids who always enjoy having their picture taken, whether that be a mark of self-confidence or ego I don't know, the vast majority of kids will shy away, refuse, put up their hands or protest about having their picture taken.... on their own. A lot of coaxing sometimes causes them to relent and cooperate, but in the main they resist.
BUT, take that same kid and put them in a group, or a pair, and they'll smile and look at the camera and generally ham it up. In fact they'll often start to congregate as the camera approaches, putting their arms around one another, drawing their heads and faces close together, striking poses and playing up to the camera. There is some sort of disinhibitising effect when they are with someone else or a group of someone elses.
I'm not aware of any research on the subject but my best pop psychology theory is that they feel lees exposed and more secure when they're with someone else, the old safety in numbers attitude. The transformation is truly amazing, from reticent and shy, heads down and eyes averted, to confident, smiling, happy beautiful young people! I have 100s of photos, taken over many years that back up my theory.
Interesting footnote, several kids whose pictures I took today, upon seeing the excellent results, asked if they could have a copy for their MySpace sites.