How a profile photo can fullfil a stereotype

Finding yourself here on Social Media can be a puzzle. There are so many rules and ideas about what you should or shouldn’t be doing. So I thought I might talk about one aspect today.  Your profile picture.

I’ve been told that I should have a photo of myself as my profile picture, and I thought I would share with you why I a6ef7eb3d6189d54c1280122137c142bdon’t.

My husband says I don’t have one because I am embarrassed about the way I look, and perhaps there is an aspect of that, but for me it has more to do with stereotypes and what people tend to think about when they see a woman of my age and size.

So let’s start with what is a stereotype.

According to Wikipedia “a stereotype is a thought that can be adopted about specific types of individuals or certain ways of doing things.”

That is a basic definition, but basically it means that you judge people on a preconceived idea of what or how they should act. It doesn’t mean it is correct, but you have that idea. We have a stereotype that pedophiles are creepy men, ones who look a certain way, when in reality they can look incredibly ordinary, otherwise why would you trust them with your children.

How is it relevant to me

My problem is that I am, first of all, a woman. Then I am older, I’m over 50 now, and thirdly overweight. I have three things against me when it comes to photography. We know that the world likes beautiful things, it is no secret, so what happens if you aren’t one them?

I have experienced the stereotype first hand. When I have been out and met people for the first time, people who don’t know me, I’ve seen how they look at me and you can tell they don’t think I’m a very good photographer.  They aren’t interested in me at all, as in the photography aspect. They are happy to to talk at me about themselves, but they don’t ask me any questions. It is almost rude.

When I am with a friend who looks more like the stereotype I am ignored completely. Believe it is true, my friends have noticed as well.

I got this from a site that looked at Stereotypes for overweight people:

According to the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, sizeism is the fourth-most prevalent form of discrimination in the U.S. Yet only six cities (plus Michigan) have laws protecting against it.

While stereotypes exist regarding all different body types — short, skinny, tall and so forth — those reserved for larger body sizes are particularly vicious. Fatness is often associated with laziness, poor hygiene and stupidity, assumptions that can have serious consequences on both a personal and societal level.

Profile Photo

So I have to question whether it is a good idea to put up a photo of me.

For me this is a no brainer. If people have these stereotypes of what a photographer is, or what a woman photographer should be and I don’t fit the profile, then I am going to be judged as soon as they see that photo and my work becomes irrelevant. Whereas, if I just have my avatar then it is doesn’t matter who I am and what I do, people fall in love with the work first, well I hope they do.

I know so many are thinking I’m being silly, but it seems to be something that only women who are similar to me understand. When I explain it to them, they totally get it and agree. It is sad to think it happens, but there is no point pretending it isn’t a problem.

My view is use the avatar that I have on all social media, if people love my work and then we meet then hopefully by that stage they don’t care what I look like. I use the same avatar on everything, it is me. I don’t see the point of the face, or the camera in front of the face, or just the camera, there is a sea of those images out there. I like that my avatar stands out and as people get to know me they recognise it.

Hopefully they are silly enough to think that I have to have a photo of me for them to understand I am a real person. You all know that I’m real, right?

What do you think of stereotypes and how people view some groups of people?

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106 Responses

  1. I understand where you’re coming from. I like to use anything but a photo of myself on my social media pages because I am not photogenic. In the rare instance when I do post a picture of myself, it either has to be a really flattering picture or one that I have added effects to make it more interesting. I don’t use PhotoShop to make myself look better or younger, but I will use a filter or a cartoon effect or something like that to make the photo of myself more abstract or more unique. You might consider doing that, if/when you decide to let us see your lovely face! Or do what I do, and post pictures of parts of your body you like — your hands, your eyes, your feet, whatever features you are most proud of.

  2. It would not surprise me if there is something right in your thoughts about people’s prejudices.
    For my own part, I have never missed photo of you or the many others (including myself!) that does not show photos of themselves.
    By contrast, I like a distinctive logo.
    And your logo is beautiful – and very special. For you.

    • It has been interesting to see what others think of logos, and I’m think that in the world of photography they are very acceptable. Thank you so much Truels.

  3. I’m impressed with you for discussing such a personal topic. People need to be more aware of their superficial prejudices or they will not have a chance to overcome them. Maybe your post will help someone to that end.

    I’ve always liked the logo image you use because it looks very professional. Your photography skills are top notch, as well. I wish you continued success in your efforts. 🙂

    • I think they do as well. I hope it does help, and others who feel the same way.
      Thank you, it has been interesting to see how many people like my logo.

  4. I love your work. And frankly speaking I wouldn’t bother with the face… Not that I wouldn’t like to see you… I would love to. But you have a point… Not everyone thinks alike. Many follow stereotypical thinking. But I’m sure you’re a beautiful person with a beautiful soul….

  5. yes, image matters in business, absolutely. I never thought about your logo, except to notice it was professional.

  6. I must admit, it makes me consider taking my picture off my about page on my website. Granted, that’s the only place where I have a photo of myself. I’ll be 32 this year, two kids, one a toddler and one a newborn. Yep, I’m overweight. I would hope that people would judge the work instead of the photographer, but you are unfortunately correct in that some, maybe even a lot, judge the photographer first, which stinks. Thank you for sharing not only your work, but your words too. You’re a good photographer, and a good person.

    • It would be wonderful if people did, that is really all they should be doing. They should only care if you can do the job or not. YOu’re welcome Molly, it has been good to see so many others who feel the same way. Thank you.

  7. TPJ

    I read it twice. I now know that not only are you a great photographer, you are so much more. Thank you very much.

  8. I really enjoyed reading the varied opinions on this subject. At the end of the day, we are all interested by photographs, and therefore realise the power of the image. We live in a world where we are saturated by them everyday and therefore, very quickly make assumptions on what we see and the more we see, so we should become more sophisticated in our readings. However, unfortunately, much like the written word, we often need more context to fully understand the image but that takes time and consideration – two concepts that are often not compatible with social media. I think you are right to demand people give you time rather than the opportunity to make a quick, unconsidered judgement. And ultimately, your work speaks for itself. An interesting, thought provoking post. Thank you.

    • Great Maxine, you have said that so well, totally agree. I think it is best if people judge me for my work and not for how I look. Thank you so much.

  9. loved what you wrote…n we live in the times when looks are far more important than talent , intelligence and other so many good qualities that can only be apparent if only we look beyond the surface…but the inability to see by so many people is their loss is what i believe in…but a very very nice article…

    • It is so true, we see it all around us. It is, unfortunately, but for someone trying to make a living from it, I have to be careful, sadly. Thank you so much.

  10. Interesting! I never gave this much thought, but you make a valid point! It is sad that it is this way, but I think what you are saying is true. Love your posts! Thanks for sharing your heart on this issue! Keep clicking and posting!

  11. I have always preferred avatars and logos to standard facial profile photos. I think I like to imagine what the person looks like. I remember seeing your sleek logo for the first time and feeling terribly intimidated. I was afraid to visit your site for some time. And your name itself sounds so strong, independent and intriguing, like the name of a famous author. I imagined a strong, solid-framed lass with steel grey locks fluttering in the wind and keen, shimmering eyes. I do not know what a standard female photographer, or male, should look like, but that is the image your logo and name conjured for me.

    After you visited Brine more than once, I just had to get over the fear and visit your site. I am so grateful that I did. Not only were you kind and inviting but your work was exactly as I imagined- incredibly sharp and professional, and very inspiring, moody, stunning. I was captivated. I probably would have visited sooner had you had a photo of yourself as your profile image, but I cannot say whether a professional would have or what other pro photographers think when they see other fellow photographers.

    As for being taken seriously out in the field, perhaps you are right about how you look, being overweight, though I sincerely doubt it. I also know that I would recognize that you were a pro right away- that sort of thing is very obvious and has nothing to do with physical stature- I would notice how you handled the camera, the angles you went for, and so on. I think the best photographers just look like down-to-earth people who adore what they do, and come in all sizes.

    Hugs. Thanks for all that you do with your wonderful blog and with your incredible art.

    All the best,

    Olde Smiling Toad

    • That is great to hear, I like them too and I think they stand out more than faces. I am sorry to hear you felt intimidated to visit my site, I hope once you arrived you realised there was nothing intimidating about it?? I love hearing what people thought I looked like, it is interesting. I think you will find that we come in shapes and sizes.
      Thank you, glad you liked the site once you got here. You may not have visited me if you had seen my face, you may have thought I had nothing to offer, that I was old and past it.
      I wish I were wrong, but I have experienced the prejudice and discrimination that face people in everyday life, it is sad, but it is there and I don’t think there is any point trying to pretend it isn’t. I do want people to employ me and usually by the time that have studied my work, decided they want to learn from me, they don’t care what I look like, they just want to learn from the person who did the images, Oh I hope I don’t sound too up myself.
      Thank you and thanks for coming over and taking a look.

    • I NEVER would have thought that, seeing your picture- impossible. Most of the photographers I know in real life are over 50, including one dear friend who is almost 70- and a very superb photographer and an old surfer, as well. I was just chatting with him today about the Nikon 500. He, like me, too, also has a deep love of film and shoots with an old Nikon film camera (forget what kind right now). And, I will have you know, a massive amount of the photographers I follow online are also in the 50+ range.

      I am very sad and disturbed that you do experience this prejudice. I wish you were wrong too, but I know such discrimination does exist. I am sure it is prevalent here, too, though I just do not often see it, living in a seaside county in Florida where a lot of people are baby boomers or older. Very few of the pro photographers around here are under 50. Thank goodness. I do not care much for young people. 😉

      Your work is spectacular. Have you ever gotten any of your photos printed on a jacket, like a wind-breaker or raincoat, or other article of clothing? I think some of your shots, like the incredible black and white night-scapes of the city, would look sublime on a jacket, a purse, an umbrella, etc. I have not been to your blog in some time so I am not sure if you have done this already??

      Hugs, you are NOT “too up yourself”, at all, lass. I really enjoy such candid conversations. I hope I did not get too long-winded in my previous reply- I always worry about babbling too much and being a tremendous annoyance as a result…Oh dear, and now, I suspect I have babbled too far in this message, now…BLAST.

      Hugs. All the best,

      Autumn Jade

    • I wish I was wrong too, but alas it exists, I see it when I am out and about. People have preconceived ideas, it is the make up of humans unfortunately.

      Thank you, no never had my work printed like that, I don’t get much printed.

      Thanks for thinking that, that is great to hear. No you are fine, nice to hear that so many have cared.

      Take care too Autumn Jade.

    • I have not printed more than 6 photos in ten years, so I know what you mean. 😉

      Aye, there are many who do not adhere to such a primitive nature- wordpress frequently restores my faith in how wonderful humans have the potential to be and that there are some phenomenal individuals meandering about, out there.

      Wishing you a delightful week.

      All the best,

      smiling toad

    • WordPress has been great, I’ve loved being there, one of the best things I did was start a blog.

      Thank you Autumn Jade, you too.

  12. I’ve always found it interesting that it’s still “okay” to make fun of fat people when it would NOT be okay to make fun of people for any other medical condition.

    I’ve been very big. I’ve been extremely thin. Now I’m just overweight, but I’m glad I’m alive. Being overweight is no longer a big deal. Especially as I round the corner to 70, suddenly carrying an extra 30 pounds is just not the world-shattering issue it was when I was younger. I’m sorry, looking back, that I couldn’t be as sanguine about my weight when I was young. I ruined much of my life feeling bad about my body.

    • That is such a good point Marilyn, and so true.

      I’ve been through it all too, I decided a few years ago enough. It is sad how society does that to us, makes us feel bad that we have to be a certain size to fit in. I’m sick of it. Thank you Marilyn.

  13. Great post, Leanne. I agree that you are wise to have your logo as an avatar. You are not being silly at all. The strength and weakness of online communities is that they only have what you put in front of them to judge you by. Your work is the object of your blogging. Everything else is irrelevant, outside of that.

    You have some wonderful comments here. I agree with another of your visitors that WordPress is a kinder place than other social media sites. I’m glad for us all that that is true.

    • Thank you, that is so true, they are given a small amount of information, my work is what it is all about. Good to see that others understand.
      It truly is, I’ve met some amazing people through it, and have friends all around the world. So am I.

  14. Sadly there is too much truth in what you say — that said I think your avatar is strong and no matter what you look like it’s a great choice. It’s different and pops out which I’m sure is why I probably clicked on it the first time. Your photography speaks for itself! You are an amazing photographer and I love seeing your work.

    • Thank you, I think my avatar has had the effect I wanted and good to see that others like it and recognise it. That is so nice of you to say Julie, thanks again.

  15. I know what you mean. It is very hard being a woman, over 50 and overweight. I fit all this too. I absolutely hate taking selfies, or having my photo taken. I have been putting my face as my avatar because people want to see who I am. But I still can’t look at it.
    Your work is amazing and your avatar shows that you are to be taken without prejudice

    • It is very hard, I hate having my photo taken, it is horrible, the image of myself in my mind never matches the photos. I can’t bring myself to do it, I’m happy with what I use now.
      Thank you Raewyn, I like that, I like that a lot, I will have to remember that, brilliant.

  16. In some respects we have lived with this issue for many years. I think we create an imaginary impression of people we haven’t met. How many times have you been surprised when meeting a person you have only ‘known’ by their voice, i.e. radio personalities? They don’t look like anything you created in your mind. It can actually take a few minutes to reprogram your brain to accommodate reality.

    We live in a visual world. We even elect politicians to run our countries, highly influenced by their appearance. Take a look at Canada’s current Prime Minister – pretty face but has he ever done anything that qualifies him to manage a country?

    I’m an amature photographer and could care less about selling my images – but I do care about what people think of my work. I actively post images on my own website, FaceBook, 500PX and a few photo forums. It only takes an occasional positive comment of appreciation to keep me going.

    However, I’ve become aware of ageism – sadly in our society men and women in their mid seventies are marginalised by attitudes that reflect seniors have little value. The wisdom and experience that comes with age is ignored. This is not limited to attitudes expressed about my worth as a photographer but more widely about many aspects of my life.

    “Grandpa is so smart, Mom. He actually writes very well.” or from a cable TV technician,”You actually have a smart phone and know how to use it?” When I tell people I have set up three websites, am self-taught and help friends with technical Internet issue, I often get a look of incredulity.

    So, Leanne, I understand your reasons. I think they are particularly valid from a business perspective.

    • I agree Don, we have. That is very true, we always have a preconceived idea.
      It is sad our people vote, very sad.
      Ageism is a big issue. that is so true what you have said about it, it is like you become brainless when you get older.
      I also get the positive comments, I think we all need that, though as I’ve become more confident with what I’m doing, I’ve found I don’t need that so much, well not as much as I used to.
      Thanks Don, I think it is the right thing to do as well.

  17. I like your avatar and think it is very recognisable and ‘professional’. (Easier for me to remember than a photograph actually.) I have always imagined you younger and it would appear slimmer than you are. Better to be judged by your work than your appearance.

  18. Personally (and professionally) I like the real Leanne…I do agree with your thoughts here, which is why I refrain from having a picture of me on my sites too.

  19. Oh gosh, Leanne, even if you were skinny or petite or red-haired or black or whatever, for me what counts is your photography. You are clearly a very skilled person, I simply love your style and I bet you inspire a lot of people!

    • Thank you Ingrid, that is great, it is pretty much what I always wanted, that people would just love what I do, well I hoped for that. That is wonderful hear, thanks again.

  20. JohnHanley

    Leanne, When you posed the question: What do you think of stereotypes? My first thought was: My wife purchased her Hitachi stereo system over 40 years ago, and we still have the amp; and it still gives out a blast! I’ve recently purchased a Sony Bluetooth SRS-XB3. Put two of those teeth together and you get to listed to heavenly harmonies. (Particularly acapella and The Idea of North.

    You ponder the puzzle that is Social Media. Might you frame your puzzle this way. You are an integral unique essential piece of the overall picture puzzle. The shape of your unique piece is so you; your true self, even if over 25 years old, and mildly portly (boy term. Unkind boys and girls might pejoratively say plumpy. So what? That’s who you are. Each and every artisan photo you take is unique!

    My wife perfects jigsaw puzzles traditionally over Christmas/New Year. One challenging puzzle I purchased for her included each unique piece containing a picture from Australia e.g. The Opera House. When you put each unique piece together the miniature puzzle piece pictures built the Titanic. The photographers angle is side on to the bow of that ship(wreck). Such was the challenge in completing that unique puzzle, we had same framed, and it hangs humorously in our entry hallway. Family, friends and guest visitors are regularly intrigued by the Picture Perfect Titanic.

    What a travesty of justice, that as a professional photographer, an element of society might potentially shun you; boycott you because of your age and body shape. What false fools!

    You are unique. I love your photography. I love your generosity of heart, sharing practical tips to educate others that they might become great art photographers. I am male, 61 years of age, married for 38 + years; new to photography and loving learning more and more each day.

    Thanks for being you. Your uniqueness. Your awe inspiring creative art works. I am saddened that those with prejudice might shun you the person if they saw a picture of the real you, and be uninterested.

    We are, on this planet, all,(human) creatures great and small. Rejoice and be glad in that.

    Thanks for being you. “Hey Darling, can you help me with the jigsaw puzzle. I’m trying to put this piece in! She just doesn’t seem to fit. I thought she might be part of the ocean. Maybe she is part of the sky?How frustrating” Bro Befuddles: “Darl, look, how clever is that, this piece; she fits into the Digital SLR camera section. Absolutely brilliant!” Wow what a puzzle! Go figure that out!

    Yours in unique you photography.

    • I love your first thought John.

      It is like that, well my work is, I’m afraid me in person is a little ordinary. I love the sound of that jigsaw puzzle.
      It is a sad fact, I’m afraid, I think if I wasn’t trying to make money it might be different, but I am, so I am more careful.
      Thank you so much John, what a lovely comment and so thoughtful. It is good to hear that people do love what I do, and I love doing it, which is even better. It really helps me to go on.

  21. me

    I love your art / photography, thats why i follow your blog. I don’t care if you are an ‘over weight, over aged, woman’, I too, am all those things. I completely understand that as 1. a woman and 2. not the ‘recommended’ size and 3. not the ‘recommended’ age, you will be judged on those aspects alone. I respect your decision as a legitimate and real one, in response to a naive and fickle world. But I am way down with what works the best for US … so you go miss thang … thank you for sharing with ME, the world through your eyes … its a beautiful thing xoxo

  22. First of all Leanne so sorry to hear you feel like that.. I am like you… well of over 😀 😀 and overweight… and I hate how this world judges people on their looks… You as a person have a heart of gold, and that is what counts.. not whether you look like a Glam Model or a stick-pin. As for your photography skills, well Leanne, let me tell you… I love what you do… I love to see how you process photos and what you do to them… For me you give me great inspiration and a goal to reach… to be half as talented as you are is my goal…

    Thank you for all you do… with hosting Monochrome Madness… your tutorials and for giving us inspiration…

    You rock girl xx

    • It is terrible how they do that, I hate the judgements. Thank you Bren, I’m not special so if you want to get really good you will, it is all about just trying things and doing things. Thank you so much, it is good to know that I inspire others.

  23. I’m so fortunate to have met you and spent a wonderful afternoon wandering and photographing Melbourne with you, Leanne. I can assure that your generosity, kindness and talent have nothing to do with your appearance. It’s all about what’s on the inside. (And I think you are beautiful inside and outside!)

  24. Love your work and your artistic processing Leeanne, I never really thought about how old you are, just enjoy your images…. keep up the great work and thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  25. Recently a stranger at a photography event (photographer) said are you Sherry Felix? He recognized me from my avatar. I like that.

  26. I love to see faces. I respect your decision. I find it humorous that some find ways of hiding their faces with hoods, etc. on avatars, seems to be only men who do this. No comment on why 🙂

  27. Great post, Leanne! I have to say, though, that I “discriminate” in the opposite way – sometimes when I get new followers and their gravatar or profile pic shows a girl with the “duck face/pout” or cleavage, or one of those “I am so beautiful” selfies, I don’t even want to go look at their blog. I judge them by their gravatar/profile pic. It’s just that those pics look very unprofessional and/or narcissistic, and it just distracts and takes away from their work.

    Your profile pic with your logo looks simply professional, it suits the purpose of your blog and work, and it has a high recognition factor. I think there is no reason to put oneself “out there” with a pic if you don’t feel like it because ultimately people are drawn to your work because they like it. If they do care more about what you look like, they’re probably not the audience you want to attract anyway.

    I very rarely wonder what someone whose work I follow and who doesn’t have a profile pic of themselves looks like. But I have to admit that I always imagined you with dark hair 😀

    • Yes, I think we all do that Kiki which is why I didn’t want to use my face.

      Thank you, glad you like my avatar, good to know. I think it suits what I want perfectly, which is exactly what I want. People recognise it too which I love.

      I am the same, to me it is all about the work and whether or not I like it, I’m attracted to the person for what they do. Sorry to disappoint, but I have blonde hair, well mousy brown now, going slightly grey too. 😀

  28. Yes, the ads we see have implied a trend of judging by appearances. Our perspective seems to be shaped by what we see on mass media. There are more prejudices than just ages, body types, or genders. There are countless. But they do not make any difference on who we really are and what our true worth is. When I look at your presentations I always have the impression of an elegant, talented professional. A true buyer or client of values will value what you will produce at the end of the days. I like your avatar. it is distinctive on its own.

    • Thank you, it is a crazy world and you would think we would all have more to worry about. I’m glad to see that people like my work and in the end that is what really matters to me.

  29. It is a sad fact that female…over 50 and not a fashionable shape does create prejudice based on stereotypes ( I tick all those boxes myself and wish the world still saw feminine beauty through eyes similar to Rubens 🙂 ). I worked in sales and marketing for a long time and if ever there was an arena where appearances matter, it is that, so I can perfectly understand why you feel the avatar may be the sensible choice professionally. Your work is what matters and where opinion should be based. The main thing is whether the victim of judgement based on such stereotypes actually cares, on a personal level. Friendship that considers looks/age/gender/weight etc isn’t worth all that much.

    • I feel the same way Sue, if only, but we work in a work that is all about beauty and fitting in, the popular people are still ruling. Thank you so much Sue for your words, that is pretty much how I see it, I want people to love my work first and respect that, if they want to meet me, well by that stage they don’t care what I look like. I have found that once people meet me they usually don’t care, and that is fantastic. I’ve made many new friends that way.

    • If you can see and capture so much beauty, Leanne, then that says a lot more about who you are than anyone else’s judgement.

    • Oh thank you Sue, that is lovely.

  30. Totally understand your decision. The world out there is too quick to judge on looks and not see the person for who they actually are or what they can achieve.

    I’ve recently been changing my avatars but on twitter I’ve decided to continue not to have a photo of me. My reason is trolls. I can be political and feminist on twitter and my current photo is certainly helping keeping trolling to a minimum. Other women who have photos of themselves have had far worse comments said to them by trolls who’ve been more uncertain with me.

    On wordpress though the community is so much nicer I’ve decided to go with me. We’ll see how it goes!

    I think your work is amazing as clearly are you and your avatar should be whatever YOU want it to be. It also happens to be great!

    • That’s so true, they do judge too quickly.
      That’s interesting what is happening on twitter, I don’t use it a lot. I can understand why you would do that though.
      WordPress community is a wonderful one, I’ve made so many friends from it really.
      Thank you Becky, I think the same, I should be what I want.

  31. Leanne, as a professional photographer I can so relate to your points of experience. First of all being a female photographer unfortunately can still be an issue, since the world of professional photographer is still a more of a male domain, yet it has changed a lot over the last view years. Second, my age, being over 60, ( although people tell me that i don’t look like it) I never mention it, because I am afraid to be turned away from clients. It’s not that I am hiding it, through face lifts etc. haha that isn’t any thing I personally believe in, quite the other way I love who I am at this age. Yet there are obsticles that come my way once in a while. Thank you for posting this, talking about it is more of an encouragement for being who we are. Much Love Cornelia Weber Photography

  32. I’m of two minds about this. On the one hand, it could be said you are helping reinforce the stereotype. On the other hand, I too am uncomfortable with using a photo of myself (for different reasons).

    At the root of it, it is and it remains a personal preference . . . but let me point out that you are giving power to others that they have not earned or deserve.

    Tell me that you prefer your current logo because you are establishing a brand and I’m on board with you and I applaud and agree with your choice. I too hope to one day have the wolf head be synonymous with what I do and recognizable as my brand.

    BUT . . . tell me that you would like to use your picture but refrain from doing so because of what others might think and I’m not on board with you. Not because of righteous indignation about how the world should be versus how it is, but rather because you seem to agree with potential detractors. You present it as a business decision, but it also sounds a bit like a surrender of sorts. I’m no psychologist, but one could say that one aspect of your decision – as described above – points to you yourself not being happy with your age and physical appearance. If that’s the case, stop it.

    What you say in earnest is 100% correct. Who you are, your accomplishments, your talents, all are more than how others perceive your physical appearance. You should proudly stand on the pedestals of talent, of success, of achievement. Like yourself for who you are and what you do.

    Probably not my place to say, but there it is.

    To reiterate . . . I agree with choosing the logo you have, but not for the implied reasons.

    • I don’t think of reinforcing it, more trying to minimise how much I am affected by it.
      I don’t use my photo for that reason, I am trying to get business with social media and if my image is going to stop people from looking further because they don’t think I am the right person, before they have even looked at my work, then my face is a problem. If it was just for personal use, social media, then it wouldn’t be a problem, who would care, but since it is business and I want people to hire me, then I have to consider that. Perhaps it is a surrender thing, it is about acknowledging the stereotype exists and how can I make sure it doesn’t effect me too much. Not having a photo of me has meant that I don’t have to worry about that, that my art speaks for me.

      I use the avatar because I like it, it stands out, and people recognise it. It is a great thing for those reasons. Whether it is a brand or not, I don’t know, but I do like the idea that no matter what SM site of mine you go to you know you are in the right place, well if you were looking for me.

      Thanks Disperser

  33. I think your avatar is pefectly fine and don’t think you need a photo of yourself! I do agree that stereotypes and discrimination because of gender, age or looks is rife in all professions. It’s wrong but it’s prevalent, so taking steps to minimise this is justified. Like Ann I saw your work first and liked it and when I met you I liked you as a person. You are a great mentor, a great photographer and a good friend and that’s all that matters to me.

    • Thank you Chris, glad you agree. They are, and people pretending they don’t are kidding themselves I think. Exactly, it would be nice if they didn’t exist, but they so you have to work out how to make sure you aren’t effected. That is such a lovely thing to say, I really appreciate it, it would be good if everyone was like you.

  34. Ron

    Hi Leanne I have admired your photos for some time now, maybe partly because I can relate to them but am seeing them in a way that I hadn’t seen them before. Also I love the artistic way you process them and am even more so looking forward to meeting you at some time in the near future. Keep shooting as you have yet still a lot of pleasure to share with us. Regards Ron.

    • thank you Ron, that is so nice of you to say. Yes, I’m looking forward to it as well. I will, I love shooting too much to stop and as long as people enjoy looking I will continue sharing.

  35. Kudos to you Leanne! I’m sure it was difficult for you to share this personal information. Love your work and admire all of the projects that you are always working on.

    • Thank you Susan. It is something I’ve been thinking about for a while now. I thought it needed to be said. That’s so wonderful to hear, I appreciate it.

  36. I don’t have one either because I feel it will take the focus from my art and because people are judgemental. I agree about the sterotypes. I want people to follow me for my art.

  37. I’m sorry to hear you feel that way. In the social media world, we get to feel like we know others via their work, their viewpoints, etc. I enjoy your work and your writing very much, but I would like to put a face to the voice.

    • Yes, if only everyone felt the way you do, but it is a sad reflection on our society I believe. I do have photos on Facebook, friend have slipped them up. haha. Thank you Sharon.

  38. This is brilliant, Leanne. Well thought out and well said. You have great maturity and a good understanding of people. Your warmth and sincerity always comes through in your posts and comments. On top of that, you’re wonderful artist. Thanks for the post. May I reblog?

    • Thank you Joseph, I have been thinking about this for a while, so it was easy to write and good to write. That is so nice of you to say, and I’m glad you said that. Absolutely no problem with reblogging.

  39. People everywhere are so shallow. The only one who can make you feel inferior is you. I am over fifty and overweight. Don’t like it but if someone doesn’t like the way I look, they aren’t worthy of my attention. What matters most is the heart. Gladly, God looks as tour exterior.

    • The problem for me is that I want people to hire me to teach them photography, and if they don’t like what I look like then it is bad for business. I think if I wasn’t trying to make a career here it might be different. Thank you John.

  40. Interesting. My attitude, as far as I know, is that I simply don’t care. I go about my business and hope to create something of note with my images. My appearance in real life and on my profile picture (which I’ve never changed) might be a help or a hindrance. I don’t think I’m even curious about finding out which.

    One strange thing when I was in India, though, was that several times locals wanted to take my picture which never happens in Australia. Maybe they thought I looked like a Sadhu and not a typical Western traveller.

    • I think for you it is fine Murray, I hate to say it but I think being a man makes a big different.
      That is strange, though I was talking to a woman recently who went to China with her small blonde boy and people kept wanting him to be in their photos. Must be the oddity or something. Thanks Murray.

  41. For years I have been using a distinctive logo based on my initials. You see it with this comment. In fact I have used this since before IBM striped their logo. On other sites and services you can find me behind a camera. My most recent of those images is a “café art” transformation.

    Your logo / avatar / profile image is distinctive, related to what you have done on your site, so it is familiar to most of your online followers and friends. That said, I would still love to know what that wonderful photographer, blogger and friend down under looks like 😉

    • I have to admit that when I first did my avatar that I wanted it become something that people recognise with me. It is a nice thing, I do like it. Aren’t we friends on FB, my photo is there. A friend put up one a month or so back.
      I do like that my avatar is attached to everything, and it is how people can identify me on other sites. Thank you Ludwig.

  42. I like your avatar because it is big and bold and I know right away it is you. But the reason for using it is sad. What you said is correct though: your work would be already prejudged. How awful that someone would miss out on your work because of a preconceived notion. Shameful. Really shameful.

  43. Leanne, I met your art first and you second. If it were reversed I would still think you are a very talented artist/photographer. I totally enjoyed our day of shooting when you were visiting. But, you are correct. My granddaughter is overweight and I’m hoping that won’t get in the way of her achieving success. My grandson has a long hair style and the jury is out as to whether he will get a teaching position in the Fall. Both these young adults are amazing.

    • Thank you Anne, such a lovely thing to say. I really enjoyed our day together as well. I think so too, stereotypes are just there, and denying them doesn’t make the go away. I hope your granddaughter does do that, and the long hair, I can’t quite work out why that would be a problem, interesting.

Talk to me, it is too quiet.