Aargh! Can that really be me? AMANDA PLATELL hates photos of herself - so what lessons has she learned from past mistakes?

Can it already be that time of year? Pre-holiday panic. Too late to lose that extra half a stone before venturing out in a swimsuit. No time for a salon fake tan either — so it’s self-administered streaks and mahogany knees all the way.
So off we women wobble for our holidays, riddled with body-angst, positively dreading that awful moment on the beach when there’s no option but to bare all.
Then we spend the whole holiday eating and drinking, and fearing the inevitable horror that awaits us when we get back home: the hell of the holiday snaps. For how many of us will look at those holiday photos and wince at what we see?
Holiday happiness: Amanda Platell's getaway snaps
Holiday happiness: Amanda Platell's getaway snaps
A new survey reveals the truth. Half of all of us are so critical of the way we appear that we ‘hate’ looking at pictures of ourselves.
Indeed, three-quarters of women are so self-conscious about their appearance that they’ll do everything in their power to avoid being snapped on holiday at all.
The reasons? How many do you need? We don’t like our smiles, our crooked teeth, our crows’ feet, our cellulite, our tubby tummies, our stumpy legs…
And in this regard, I’m as guilty as the next woman. When I was younger, I used to be so anxious about how I looked in photos that I’d insist on collecting them from the developers myself, so that I could selectively edit them before anyone else in the family could get their beady eyes on them.
These days, of course, I’ve got technology on my side.
One of the wonders of digital cameras is that you can delete the shots you hate before they go anywhere near a photo album.
The only problem is that even when I look back at the photos I have kept, hoping to bask in the happy holiday memories, I can hardly bear to give the ones with me in them more than a cursory glance.
I adore the shots of my friends and family: the sweet smiles, the cheeky grins, the playfulness, the happy times spent together.
It’s only the ones that I’m in which I can’t bear.
All I see are my faults: the horrid hairstyles, the daft choice of clothes, the stupid expressions I’m pulling.
Which is why, for years, I have employed that old holiday con-trick of always being the photographer, never the photographed.
I have endless snaps of brothers and lovers, parents and friends — but very few of me. In fact, judging by my photo albums, you’d think I’d never been on holiday at all.
So I’ve decided that enough is enough: this year, I am going to conquer my fear of the camera once and for all.
Lesson 1: Beware a big head
And as any phobia specialist will tell you, the first step to conquering your demons is to confront them head-on.
Which is why I decided to go back through all my old snaps with a forensic eye to see where I’ve been going wrong.
It was a painful process. As I pored over the pictures, I kept thinking, is my nose really that big, my smile that gummy, and why, in every picture, do I have leg-of-lamb arms?
As for my thighs, they’d give an England prop a run for his money.
By the end of my pictorial trip down memory lane, I was a heap of anxieties, determined to go on that diet, wondering if it was time for Botox, too late for a nose job, or even for a boob job.
And yet, for all my neuroses, I was also consoled by the way the passage of time can smoothe over our perceived imperfections.
For when I look back at my younger self, I don’t look half as hideous as I remember feeling at the time.
Back then, I was so insecure that all I saw in my holiday snaps was a baby hippo in a bikini. Today, I think I look like a perfectly ordinary girl.
What a waste of time and energy all that anxiety was. So from now on, I’m going to try to enjoy the whole experience of being photographed — armed, of course, with a few lessons I’ve learned the hard way…

Lesson 6: Sultry usually looks silly

Lesson 7: Fancy dress is seldom your friend
Lesson 8: Don't be the dancing queen

Lesson 9: Arms are your enemy

Lesson 10: Remember what really matters
PS. And here's one I DO like



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