Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day Twenty-Eight: A Big Gray Sweater and A Very Revealing Photo Session

Shooting this photo was a quite the revelatory experience:

I know that I'm not much of a photographer. I'm still trying to learn the ins and outs of the five year-old Canon Power Shot A95 that my mom is lending me for this project. I have only regular floor and table lamps with daylight bulbs to light my office door and whatever I'm shooting. There's never enough light, unless I'm shooting early in the morning. The room's single window has an eastern exposure. I'm lucky to have a tripod.

Still, I had to take upwards of thirty pictures to get this just-acceptable shot. It was very time-consuming. If funds weren't an issue, I'd shift around my entire office to accommodate better lighting. From everything I've read, I don't need a more expensive camera. I just need to use this one more productively. I've always wanted to take decent photographs, and it's much more complicated than I ever imagined. I've always had as much respect for good photographers as I do good writers and painters, but pursuing this project has solidified the facts for me. Photography is a difficult art and an even tougher craft.

But beyond the photography, there's the issue of the subject. Remember a few days ago when I mentioned that a woman who wears a size six is considered to be Plus Size in the industry? Well, now I can see why. I'm reliably a size six or eight. More often an eight, unless I'm wearing a high-end designer. (Size four in St. John Knits--but they're notorious for their vanity sizing.)

Granted, this Norma Kamali Sweater Coat is not particularly flattering on me anyway, darn it. But, really, it does point out the fact that I am short. And not a size two or four.

Here's what it looks like on a mannequin/form. Funny, huh?

Damn. If only it looked like that on me.

I knew even before I looked in the mirror that I needed to be taller to wear this sweater. I thought "heels" immediately. Possible fixes: Heels, of course--two to three inches. Also, black pants that hang from the hip to keep me from having that snake-that-swallowed-a-rodent-yesterday look. Leggings or cropped pants make everyone look shorter. Not good, unless you have extra height you want to get rid of. And the belt. The shapelessness of the sweater is only enhanced by the insubstantial belt. Doesn't matter that it's the same color.

Norma Kamali Sweater Coat: $20; Norma Kamali Leggings: $10; Norma Kamali Ballet Flats: $20; Jewelry: White Stag Earrings: $12; Necklace $7  Total: $69

This is all getting a bit depressing, I fear. This project has revealed to me that I'm heavier than I think I look, shorter than I think I look, and that I'm a very limited photographer! No. I'm just kidding--sort of. There's so much to learn here. I've done enough reading and listening and watching to know why this particular outfit (along with others) looks bad. The question remains the same: Can I find enough variety through one retailer to dress myself with some sense of style and attractiveness for an entire year? Here at the one month mark (I blog a day or two behind), I'm still not sure.

So much to consider--I could write chapters on this body image thing alone. And when in the world did I start looking like this woman, bless her heart?! (So, I'm not a pear shape, but the resemblance is still there.)

Last but not least,  I really need to get going on my fiction, or else I won't even be able to shop at Walmart!

Off to Bouchercon in Indianapolis--TTFN!


  1. ya know, I really wish they didn't classify models by size. You can be a size 4 or a size 24 and be gorgeous. The point of models is to sell clothes, after all. Or, product. The problem is the designers who make the "samples" or whatever they're calling them nowadays in a size 2. If they would choose the the model based on the campaign, or because they're good at the runway, and then create the design for the size of the model...

    Not that that's what your project is about, but since the stories of "fat" models keep cropping up recently, and it makes ppl have body issues of their own "Dear Lord, if she's considered heavy looking like THAT, how must I look??" It makes me mad. The whole system.

    Regardless, you always look nice in the clothes you pick out, even when you think you don't! Good luck w/ the photography. It's a lot of fun. I started to love taking pictures a couple years ago. : )

  2. I've been taking photos of myself over the last month with my cell phone camera - random closeups of different angles of my face and head - because I wondered if I would recognize myself walking down the street. It's very true that our perception of ourselves is different from the reality - the trick is realizing how beautiful the reality is.

  3. Carrie-Oh, the body-shape/image issue is so complicated, isn't it? Business and marketing have collided with our collective sense of self, and the problem is that corporations have no souls. Never will. And humans are great big bundles of soul and emotion. Too bad that many of them don't ever mature beyond the emotional age of six! xo

    Maggie--I can't believe you didn't tell me this! You should put them on flickr.