“The Camera Never Lies”

Sometimes I forget that people aren’t always what they seem to be online. Even more often, I forget that people don’t always look how they look online. We all get lucky in some photos and less lucky in others. A few genetic freaks of nature look amazing from every angle, in every light. But not most of us.

Here’s a really unflattering picture of me, taken last November after I tripped over a curb and broke my hip. Ordinarily I’d rather die than post it, but I need it to illustrate my point. (On the bright side, you can see my O.J. Simpson Trading Cards in the background.)

At Sea of Shoes, for example, you will never see a photo of Sea’s behind. And she’s announced many times that she looks for “volume” in clothes. She knows how to conceal her weaker areas and play up the stronger ones.

This photo confirms that Sea has to work hard to get those glowing portraits she posts! It’s the magic of a $2,000 Nikon and the right lighting.

People remind me over and over that someone’s online persona may be nothing like their real self. When I told my sister about one of my dearest cyber-friends, she exclaimed, “How do you know that anything they say is true?!” Her cynicism upset me. I just assume I can discern a genuine personality from a manufactured one.

Recently I read this essay by Zadie Smith on “The Social Network” and Facebook, and it blew my mind. I can’t recommend it highly enough! The notion that we may be learning to limit our actual selves by the way we shape our own “brands” online is really thought provoking. It disturbs me.

My own online presence is a little disturbing to me.   People know too much about me.   I’m open about my whole life. I may regret it, but I can’t think why, since I’ll never run for president or seek a corporate job. But I can at least say that I’m not presenting a fake or even well-edited version of who I am.   I think I’m exactly what I seem like. But maybe a tiny bit less of a cunt.

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59 Responses to “The Camera Never Lies”

  1. Sister Wolf says:

    James – If I come across anything interesting like the sperm fragrance, I’ll send you an email. xo

  2. I am COMPLETELY guilty of heavily editing my personal blog photos (ie: only choosing ones where i don’t Hate my sizable ass). I’ve even considered literally photoshopping myself skinnier. WTF is wrong with me? Even though i have a boyfriend who tells me i’m pretty everyday, it’s still nice to hear it from strangers online i guess. arghh i hate vanity.

  3. Sister – I doubted that you did just stalk her, but I am intrigued as to how she let those deeply unflattering pics out.
    David – well that’s a relief, because it means that I AM the person I like to pretend to be on my blog! Phew! (Wrote my own piece on brand identity online, as per usual I always pinch Sister’s best ideas. But I’ll save the posting a pic of me as I normally look until I’m a bit braver)

  4. And Rackk and Ruin, you’re normal. I used to hate hearing my ex compliment me. It made my stomach turn a bit, because I didn’t believe him.

  5. Ellu says:


    ^Her newest post title, lol. I guess it’s supposed to be Fuchsia instead of Fuschia.. but hey, what can you expect from a girl who spells Finland (the country next to Sweden) FINDLAND. Lmao. And not just once but several times.. hello!?!?

    Anyway, I even suspect that she uses Photoshop to reduce her waist and so on, because when I compare the photos in this post to her blog’s photos, she seems so much slimmer there. Maybe I’m too cynical, I don’t know..

  6. TexasArt says:

    I think Sea took your post to heart & blogged wearing pants, along with what may be a lot of PShopping. Hey, I have done the same to pics of myself. BTW, nice to see pics of everyone looking normal. : )

  7. liz says:

    Thanks for linking to that article; it’s hysterical. I just found yer blog and I’m totally entertained! FINALLY someone who hates those fucking Jeffrey Campbell shoes as much as I do! 🙂

  8. Ms. Fitz says:

    Wait Wait Wait.. I am NO fan of SOS, but for you to say (with photographic proof none the less) “Oh look, see! She has a fat ass in real life! And see, look how much worse her skin looks in reality!” I love your blog, and I like your disdain for the uninspired, over priced looks on SOS, BUT I have to say that this one is particularly catty and doesn’t do your wit justice. It’s kind of mean girls of you.
    Sure the images she posts on her blog are retouched and glamorized, but so are the models in fashion magazines- which is basically the job she is doing, wearing clothes to promote the brands.
    Keep up with the commentary, its important, but lets not stoop this low x

  9. Sister Wolf says:

    Ms Fitz – Nope, she wasn’t promoting brands, though she may have agreed to do that now. She was promoting her” beauty”, and taking great pains to take glamour shots of herself.”

    It is good for her young fans to see that a lot of lighting and high-end camera go into the final product they see.

    Whereas Rumi just stands there awkwardly in her shorts and booties, without trying to look like a studio portrait of a film star.

    Jane has been very very mean to me in the past, by allowing her fanclub in Dallas to carry out an organized attack on me just after my son died. She could have stopped it but didn’t. If you read the hundreds of attacks, you will see that I could NEVER be the kind of mean girl you’re talking about.

    My philosophy has always been: It’s fair to fuck with the power, but never pick on an underdog. I’ve taught my kids that too.

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