Self-deprecating notes on vintage photos show how little our self worth has changed


posted Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 3:04 PM EDT


Ask anyone who's ever been photographed more than a couple of times, and they'll be quick to confirm that there's at least one photo in which they hate the way they look (or maybe more). Maybe it's a spontaneous double chin, their skin, or their posture, but a lot of people feelthat they photograph poorly. In fact, it's one of the great skills of a good photographer: the ability to pose people to look their best. But a collection of vintage images covered in self-deprecating notes shows that is in no way a new phenomena—people have been disliking their looks in photographs for generations.

The images come via Ransom Riggs, who has compiled an incredible collection of found photos into a book. But a couple of years ago, he put together an eye-opening collection of images that he'd discovered which were covered with notes of people hating the way they looked in them. The subjects call themselves "hideous" and "fat", and asking that the images be destroyed or never shown to anyone. And what's quite astonishing is just how thin some of these people are.

And frankly, how different is that from how a lot of people feel about their photos now? Who hasn't seen a photo of themselves go up on Facebook, and thought they looked hideous in it? Now days we're just more likely to leave a comment and maybe untag ourselves, rather than leaving a permanent note on a print. And, just like these photos, you probably look better than you give yourself credit for.

(via Laughing Squid)