Scars, should they stay or should they go?
Scars. Most, if not all of us have at least one. I have a scar on my face. It is under and to the side of my left eye. When I was about 4 I was bitten in the face by my grandfather's dog. Yes, it was a bit traumatic, but I got over it and even own a dog now. In fact, dogs have always been in my life...before and after the incident. I was afraid of dogs for a while, but eventually got over it. Since it happened when I was so young, it healed pretty nicely. I guess the doctor who stitched it up did a pretty good job as well. There are people who have known me for years that either have never noticed it or just happened to notice one day after a time.
So the other day I was wondering what was I going to write for my blog post and the word "scars" popped in my head. Yeah, I know it seems pretty weird and random, but it honestly did. That's also how I came up with the name of my business as well, but that's a different story. One would think that people would want to have scars on their faces removed from pictures. No really. I remember after I had my high school senior portraits taken, the photographer asked if I wanted my dog bite scar removed. Do you know that I had a difficult time deciding whether or not I wanted it gone? Evidently I didn't respond quickly enough and the photographer decided to remove it. Now whenever I look at that picture, I don't feel that it was a true depiction of me. It looks like there's something missing.
I have plenty of clients who feel the same as I do. Whenever I have maternity sessions, I ask if the mother-to-be wants me to remove the linea negra (you know, that black line that runs down the middle of the belly during pregnancy), some want me to remove it and some don't really care. The only thing they do want me to remove are the stretch marks. I had one client who had a terrible scar on her belly from a traumatic incident that almost killed her. She wanted to keep it as a reminder of her ordeal and that she survived.
Then there's my son. When he was 7 he got hit in the face with a golf club. He was so blessed for it to hit him where it did. He could have gotten hit in his eye, broken his nose or knocked out some of his teeth, but instead he received the blow to his forehead. Another good thing is that he didn't get a concussion; however he did have to get about 6 stitches. Now he has this scar above his left eye. As he gets older it becomes less pronounced, but it's still rather noticeable. I could easily remove it with Photoshop, but then I wouldn't be true to my son. That scar is a part of him. Erasing the scar is like erasing that particular life experience. Hopefully he has learned not to stand too closely to someone swinging a golf club.
Out of all my years as a photographer, I only had one person ask me to remove a scar. It was for a boudoir session and she had this keloid on her chest. I guess it was about two inches long. She specifically asked me to remove it, so I did. As a general rule, I do not remove any scars unless someone specifically asks me to. I will remove acne because it's not permanent, but I won't remove moles or freckles. I will remove stretch marks unless someone wants them to remain.
I think the session that I think of most when talking about scars is of this couple who decided to have a child later in life. The father had a near death experience and had to have open heart surgery. He still has the scar from the surgery and wasn't shy about showing it during the newborn session. In fact, he was showing it off to show what he had conquered and the reward he had received. His son might be covering up his scar a bit, but it's there.
I believe scars are there for a reason. They remind of us how we got where we are and that we survived. It's not always life or death. Sometimes it's just bad or worse.
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