Photographing the Soul

I vividly remember an episode of Frasier where someone wanted to take a picture of Martin, Frasier’s Dad and he steadfastly refused.  In a monotone deadpan voice he said something to effect of:
I can’t have my picture taken because it takes a piece of my soul each time.
Do you believe when you take some one’s picture, you’re stealing a piece of their essence, a part if their soul?  There are still cultures around the globe who do not allow pictures to be taken of people.  Some Native American Tribes still refuse to be photographed.  In fact, there is a story circulating that Crazy Horse never had his picture taken.

What do you think?  I know several photographers who steadfastly refuse to have their picture taken.  Myself being one of them, I can now use this as an excuse.  I wonder how many photographers don’t like their own photo taken?  I use the excuse that I’m MUCH better behind the camera then in front of it.

Truth be told, I don’t like how I look in pictures.  There are ONLY three people who have captured me on film that I respect.  I ACTUALLY like the pictures that were taken and that’s saying a lot.  My friend Rachel Carson Schemmerling took a photo of me at her graduation party in the early 1990’s.  My brother, Mike took another shot several years later and several years later, possibly in 2005 another friend, Amy Miller was collecting photos of frequent customers to The Madison Gourmet Beanery to hang in the business.  I was impressed with Amy’s picture too.

I’ve heard this story several times in the past, even before Frasier.  I recall reading about a tribe, it may even have been the Australian Aboriginals; don’t quote me however, that refuse to have their picture taken for this VERY reason.  They’re afraid that the camera will trap their souls.

Who is to say if this really isn’t the case?  If an entire population believes something to be true, then isn’t it true to them?

Think about that!

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.



5 responses to “Photographing the Soul

  1. Interesting post… mostly I tend to think we are all so vain and carry around pictures of how we think we look in our minds. Then when we actually see ourselves in a picture, well our fantasy image is destroyed. In a way, I guess that is like taking a piece of our soul away!

  2. Coming from a household of three woman and me, maybe that explains why before any photographs can be taken an hour of make up and hair sorting has to be gone through. Maybe this is so they can disguise themselves to protect their souls, and to think i always thought it was due to vanity.

  3. Very interesting Christopher. Although I’ve heard of this, I’ve never actually thought of this before…I wonder what they make of mirrors…

  4. Maybe a part of our souls are exposed to others through pictures and if they can’t read our soul correctly, then we are open to whatever they want to make of us, a somewhat scary thought. 🙂

  5. I have no problem with having my picture taken but I’ve always had people commenting that my picture makes them smile because I have a such an open and warm smile.
    But what you say could be true, if that is the case my soul is everywhere now:)

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