Have you seen that Friends episode when Chandler just can’t take an engagement photo? I can totally identify. I HATE taking photos. Let me clarify, I like being the photographer, but I am terrified of being the subject. The thought of having my photo taken or being recorded renders me anxious to the point of physical sickness. Not only that, but it is nearly impossible for me to look into a lens. My knees quake, my eyes burn, my smile is forced and plagued with spastic ticks…it’s serious, people. This hasn’t always been the case; I can pinpoint my irrational fear of the camera to a particular photo. It was taken with my kindergarten class in the 2007-08 school year. I look back at that picture now, and realize it’s not really that bad. Yes, I had put on a little weight, my hair was droopy, and the color I chose to wear was not very flattering. But in all honesty, it is a pretty decent picture of me. For some reason, when I opened that Life Touch envelope for the first time nine years ago, all I could see were my flaws, and all I could focus on was the fact that those twenty-something little kids were going to memorialize their kindergarten teacher in that image for the rest of their lives. Sob! My disappointment in that photo snowballed into a full-blown phobia.
Perhaps my crippling fear speaks to the completely unrealistic expectation of female beauty that exists in our present society, but that topic is for a different blogpost. What I want to talk to you about is how I overcame my fear. Well, kind of.
Recently I was contacted by Mark Whittier, director of a local independent production company, Broken Films. He asked my family to appear in a promo for Sundance Square, a major sponsor for Fort Worth’s Lone Star Film Festival, which is this weekend, November 10-13. Despite my initial desire to SCREAM “No!”, after some deliberation with my husband we decided to accept. What followed was a week of stomach pain and sleep deprivation, but after a reassuring conversation with Mark over the phone, I knew we made the right decision. Not only was he really nice, but he explained to me that in essence, our portion of the spot would probably last around eight seconds, and we have to be able to get a good eight seconds, right?
Well, we got our eight seconds. Take a look here at the absolutely gorgeous finished product.
All in all our experience with the cast and crew was a positive one. The kiddos weren’t as cooperative as I had hoped for, but that actually helped me focus on something other than my own insecurities. Not only did I survive being an actor for a day, I actually had a lot of fun. Also, in addition to meeting a lot of pretty cool people, I may have learned a thing or two. Thanks to Houston for entertaining my children, to Michelle for styling us up, to Claire for chatting with me in the green room, to the film crew for hanging in there with us and creating something stunning for me to brag about, and, especially, thanks to Mark for your kind words and encouragement. We live in a digital world where everyone, Junior to Grandma, threatens my piece of mind with the aim of their camera phones. Thank you all for possibly making that battle just a little bit easier.
(Photo credit to Jake Guy courtesy of Broken Films. Many thanks!)
Christy Ortiz is a Fort Worth native, and proud to say so. She earned her bachelor’s degree from UT Arlington in Interdisciplinary Studies. She taught for FWISD for eight busy years before switching gears and staying home with her two small children. Her hobbies are interior decorating for friends, photography, and flying kites with her kids. Her South American roots and love for the Spanish language and Latin cultures add to the diverse voices of our group.