The American Navel

I can’t believe it’s been over a week since I’ve posted!

The past few weeks I have been hard at work on my photography business and website! It has certainly “taken over”, in addition to my other familial duties…PLUS we’ve all been ill.  With that said, I have been writing this blog post for over a week in between figuring out my packaging and pricing and all the exciting things I will be offering my photography clients!

So the week before last, while I was figuring out how I will conduct my business, I looked at many photography websites, especially those catering to newborns, babies and young children.

When it came to my bio, I debated whether or not to include a photograph of myself. When I looked around, I found only a handful of photographers without photos of themselves and thought I might as well, even though my initial inclination was not to display one on the site. I felt that I was advertising my work as a photographer – did it really matter what I looked like….?

When I showed the site to my husband, his first comment was, “I don’t think you need your photo”…

I stopped…. annoyed (not at him), that it ALWAYS seemed that when I thought something and did the opposite, maybe I should have done what I was initially going to do. I went on to explain to him that almost all the photography websites I checked out included photos of the photographers and added that it did make sense to me, that a parent would want to see who was photographing their children…. Wouldn’t I??

Maybe a note about my husband would be helpful… He grew up in France, and is for the most part, French… Culturally European (and West African… But the focus here is the European). He then made a comment about Americans…always thinking about their own navel….as if they are the center of their own Universe…. Now.. he’s not the only one who said this – I showed the site to a neighbor of mine – also European and she also asked about my photo.  I chuckled!  Now I’m really  beginning to think it’s a crazy American thing… (side note: I am in no way bashing Americans – I am only pointing out and interested in discussing cultural differences…)

So after some thought I went with my gut… and took my photo down… for now… until I have one that I’m happier with..

But what they were saying complimented each other – my husband was talking about his noticing this culture where we don’t debate topics that stray far from ourselves.  Instead of talking about “Malcolm” (his example), we focus on our lives…  I mean… could my blog be in that category… probablyuh yes… even though I try hard not to..

My neighbor’s comment was particularly concerning if one thought what the had to say was so interesting that we had to share with other people.

Now, I know many people NOT on Facebook and many not concerned with letting others know about their daily ins and outs in what others think, but I don’t know if it’s a purely American thing… It could be an artist thing…  I mean when you work for yourself and write or act or dance or promote yourself, it’s hard to stray from that because YOU are your “brand” – YOU are your own bread.  It could also be a product of our society… “iPhone” “mobile ME”…. “iPod” “iPad”… our everyday products focus on ourselves…

There’s a fine line between just enough me and too much me… but it can be annoying or frustrating maybe to meet people who are constantly thinking about me, myself and I.  We require so much attention these days.  What would be do if we shut off the twitter and Facebook… it seems so rare to have a telephone conversation these days… so much is done by text and I’m not excluding myself (although I’m working hard NOT to make this about me).

I would really like to hear what people think… Are you a perpetrator of constant navel-gazing?be honest… OR do you avoid it like the plague and attempt to participate in discussions about things other than yourself?