Finding Your Bad Side in Photographs

Posted on
Oct 1, 2012

Rand refuses to believe I have a bad side.

Photographically speaking, I mean. He knows I have a dark and sinister and downright evil side to my personality – that could never be disputed. It shows itself in full force when I’m stuck in traffic, when too much time has elapsed between my consumption of snacks, and during both the regular and playoff seasons of the NFL.

During those moments, my husband will stare at me with the same wariness you would a wild badger that you’ve suddenly discovered in the backseat of your vehicle as you zip down the highway. It’s a mixture of where-the-hell-did-that-come-from and I-need-to-get-out-of-this-situation-as-quickly-as-possible.

But while my evil streak is well known to him (and I would like think that he will eventually grow to love and tolerate it like he has the rest of me), Rand has disavowed any knowledge of my physical bad side. You know what I speak of, yes? It’s the one that you never show to the camera. The one you hope doesn’t appear in too many of your wedding photos. The one that causes you to do all manner of contortions and yoga-inspired moves (jutting your chin out, tilting a shoulders, trying to not smile too hard on that one side) in hopes of avoiding it.

For some people it’s a double-chin (for me, it certainly is). For others it’s a unfortunate angle of the nose (come to think of it, I suffer from that, too). Or a normally alert and symmetric eye will suddenly decide that it needs to see the world, regardless of what its partner is doing (Sigh. Strike three. Someone hand me a cupcake).

My husband doesn’t think I have a photographic bad side,  the wonderful fool. Or, at least, he pretends not to see it, which is equally lovely, really.

But during our trip to Ireland, I managed to get two rather distinct examples of both my good and bad sides.

I give you Exhibit 1 or “Geraldine as she would like to be seen.”

Not COMPLETELY unfortunate looking, right?

I would now like to introduce you to my slovenly twin. I call her “Smeraldine.”

Oh, dear.

For some reason, whenever I look at myself from that angle, I imagine myself saying, in a voice that it little more than a grunt, the following:


I don’t really know why. I mean, I like cheese, but I usually don’t demand it in grunts like I do cake.

If you are trying to determine which side is your bad side (so that you may hide it from other humans), I recommend these two steps:

  1. Grab several photos of yourself from different angles.
  2. Determine which one makes you recoil in fear.
That’s probably your bad side.
I know, I know. I’m being petty here. Trust me – after this summer, nothing has made me more appreciative of simply having everything roughly in the right place, and working more or less how it should. Nothing will put a bad acne breakout or squishy thighs into perspective faster than a health scare.
I have an angle from which I don’t like being photographed. Big whoop. Having a bad side doesn’t matter one lick. You simply have to be grateful for what you have.

My supposed bad side. Funny how in this picture, you hardly notice it at all.

Especially when you find someone who can’t see your bad side at all.

Leave a Comment

  • Ale

    First of all, the second picture is cute as well! But I see your point of looking different on it. Probably standing closer to the camera. I have a similar “twin” who is much “fatter”- so I move myself to the farthest corner from the camera. The first picture is perfect – I also like the “tuck myself under his armpit pose” has a slimming effect for me. 🙂

  • Do you ever have disagreements because one or the other of you simply doesn’t feel like being photographed from any side for what ever reason—-bad hair day or you just don’t feel like posing in front of a German bunker in Normandy? I mean I personally have trouble deciding on an appropriate pose in front of a German bunker. Should you go with the grim “I can’t believe they started two world wars face” or your “Isn’t the European Union great and this could never happen again” somewhat hopeful looking face?

  • Love your “GIMME CHEESE” face. I can totally see it. I wouldn’t say I have a bad side, as any side can be equally bad, more just bad facial expressions. It’s almost worse, because it’s so unpredictable. I can’t just pose myself strategically in a photo, I have to really concentrate on not looking like an idiot/ mad woman/ double-chinned weirdo.

  • I never know whose face that is in photos of me. I certainly don’t look the same as I do in my head.

  • Sadly, no side of me looks good in a photograph. Cameras really don’t like me! At least I hope it’s the camera and not what the world actually sees. Ewww!

    But you are 100% correct, it’s all about the good health.

  • Angie

    Some girlfriends and I went on a trip together and took three photos of each other. Front, left profile, right profile. Since then, we all know where to stand relative to each others so only the good side shows

  • hahahahahaha!
    this is classic.

  • Bad side? No such thing. All of them real sides.

  • Ironically, in addition to this blog post, I also read a PetaPixel post today which included this tidbit of information… “Science has found that the left side of people’s faces are generally more aesthetically pleasing.”

    Hey Geraldine… why don’t you do this with your portrait and post the results. Enquiring minds want to know.

  • Since I had my baby I cannot find my ‘good’ side in any pictures. To the point that my husband is forbidden from taking pictures of me without my almost written consent. By the way, thanks for your posts, I read them during lunch time at work, they make me smile.

  • Hmmm. I have never taken the time to analyze it. I just seem to find flaws in most of my pictures. I suppose I should look at them again and see if there is an association in them ad far as angle. My most recent pics were goofy ones, so no one was really trying to look good. And how sweet that the husband doesn’t see it.

  • Wow, you make me laugh. And I love the sweet photo of the two of you in the end. It’s certainly a good photo of that side–a very pretty one actually. 🙂

  • stephanie

    that smeraldine photo made me choke on my graham cracker (with laughter)!

    interestingly, my left is my better side, too. hmmmmmmmmm. i hereby request an internet poll.

  • I determined a long time ago that my good side is behind the camera.

  • Michelle

    It is not so much a bad side rather than a quirky facial expression. In the first one you look relaxed int he second one it looks like the doctor said “YOUR HAVING QUINTUPLETS” Its the element of OMG I should be happy but no no no how can this be 🙂

  • I’m glad to hear that someone else grunts while demanding cake.

    Fabulous piece – and, though it’s obvious that we all experience this sorta why-is-my-face-DOING-that sort of realisaiton, it’s sooooo great to read such an eloquent piece about someone else’s experience of that.


  • abigailabear

    for the record – my husband just said, ” I don’t know what you’re talking about, she’s cute in both.” 🙂

  • Katamal

    Until very recently my whole skull has been somewhat lopsided, but after seeking treatment from an excellent chiropracter for headaches, my ears are now more or less level for the first time in my life. I know this to be true because my glasses used to be quite crooked but now line up quite nicely with my eyebrows. Also, just this week, I’ve developed a slight sore on top of my left ear (where it joins the side of my head) because the arm of my glasses has been rubbing – it was never quite in contact before and floated above my ear slightly. So apparently, I had a “temporal wobble” which my chiropracter has been working on. (Oh dear, this is sounding more and more crazy as I type, but I promise it’s true!!!). Will have to start looking at photos to see if my good and bad sides have altered at all.

  • Maybe it is my imagination, but on your right side you look like to me kind of Italian, or, more in general, Mediterranean.

  • I think you are both ADORABLE!

    The rule with photographs is that in 20 years you will look at those you’ve hated and think how terrific you looked.

  • When somebody takes a snap of me, I’m always thinking, “Is this the side with my missing tooth?” Sigh. So vain, with so little reason to be…

  • Hehe, I can relate. 😉 My good side is where my hairline parts and I have my nose ring; the other – meh.

  • kristen

    i had to smile on this one as i just finished a book on the actress jean arthur which amazingly coincided {i know…a miracle} with mr smith goes to washington on tcm the other night….she…if you might not know…was insistent on being shown only from her left side….feeling like her right side was simply not camera friendly….and her left only “acceptable”…it also didn’t help that one director agreed…”her right side is like a horse”…..gee…i’m sure hedda hopper grabbed that one and ran….so back to the movie…. i watched hoping for one little peak at her right side….which finally happened… jimmy stewart… after fillabustering for hours……takes that infamous nosedive ….. there it was……the right side of her face as she’s leaning over the railing yelling “jeff”!!!…..and you know what? it looked just fine… horse whatsoever….the moral to this rant?… horse whatsoever for you either kiddo… look just fine.

  • i forgot {last night on my ramble of comparisons: you and jean arthur…highly complimentary for both!} to include a blog i’ve started while i’m ‘temporarily’ back in my home state…kansas….and wanted to thank you for your post when you were here…..kansas can stress even the best travelers…..but it has its gems…although i’m still counting the days to get back to more people per square mile…..

  • My little sister and I have the same “good side,” which is a problem in family photos as there are only two of us and two parents, therefore one of us has to show her “bad side.” We constantly fought over who got which side in Ireland/Scotland last month!

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