Ask Amy: Handling cameras everywhere

FresnoMarch 22, 2014 

Dear Amy: What is the best way to handle photographers at church who include other worshippers in their photos and videos unexpectedly?

Someone who has a camera to record a baby's baptism and suddenly feels the need to enlist the congregation as extras in the personal family video is easy enough to dodge by hiding behind a hymnal. But now I am seeing cameras at funerals too, with the videographer encouraging me to smile and wave as I look up from signing the guest book, staring like a deer in headlights. Is there some way to rise above this odd new trend?

— Not camera ready

Dear Not Ready: As filming everything becomes more ubiquitous, all of us face the prospect of being supporting players in others' movies of the week. I agree that this is an intrusion, and like you I duck this whenever possible and try way too hard to look "natural" the rest of the time.

I have worked as an "extra" in three major motion pictures (one advantage to living in Chicago). One thing I learned during my brief career is that the perfect extra fades anonymously to the background, letting the featured actors soak up the action.

If you are at a funeral where there is a professional videographer, you have to assume that the grieving family has hired the person. Even if it is not what you would do, you should respect their wish to have this video record. Do not smile and wave. Go about your business. Be an extra.

Dear Amy: I am a young woman struggling with depression.

My early teenage years were a dark time for me, and I had a problem with cutting. I have stopped, but I have scars. I am not proud nor ashamed; these scars show where I've been and that I've survived.

I want to come clean about my problems and my past, but I don't know how to do so without upsetting or worrying my parents. I want to assure them that it is no longer a problem for me.

— Conflicted

Dear Conflicted: Congratulations on the healing you have attained. This is a true achievement. I hope you are seeing a therapist to manage your ongoing challenge with depression. If so, your therapist (or another adult friend or family member) can help to guide a conversation with your folks.


You can contact Amy Dickinson via email at, follow her on Twitter @askingamy or "like" her on Facebook.

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