What a weird thing it is, to take pictures of one's self. I never gave it much thought until this project. Van Gogh's self portraits bothered me (He painted something like 36 of them). I felt sad that he saw such torment in his own face, and was brave enough to represent it on canvas. The impressionistic techniques can only have enhanced the brutal effects.
I love how intense and real these self-portraits are:
(Okay, he's a bit of a drama queen here.)
People who have professional photographs taken of themselves--writers, politicians, businesspeople, celebutards, actors, brides--they aren't necessarily looking for reality. They want their best selves, not their everyday selves on display.
Photography is such an instant experience now. The digital camera sees every damn thing--if the lighting is right, which for me, rarely happens--and one can't hide a bad hair day, pimple or nose bump. There's always Photoshop for the perfectionist or the artist.
Regular readers will recognize writer Michelle Brooks's comments as coming by way of Michelle's Spell. With every wonderful blog post Michelle puts up, she includes a photograph of herself. They are usually posed, but delightfully honest and fun and unabashedly sexy (the girl can't help it!). She just doesn't have a bad picture day. When I first started reading her blog, I was blown away not just by her writing (she posts poetry, non-fiction, fiction snippets), but by how brave she was to have all those photos of herself out there for everyone to see.
I read an interesting article somewhere online that talks about self-consciousness in photos--particularly in photos of children. Oldest children are usually the most self-conscious, their smiles often "fakey." They try to smile in a pleasing way, but they're not really into it. Some children start out this way from birth--others pick it up when they're seven or eight. I used to give Pom a terribly hard time about it--but of course that only makes it worse. And so the child has to unlearn it as an adult.
My particular weakness is vanity. I hate having pictures up that I don't like. It's as though I imagine I'll be in some political campaign someday or will have some crime committed upon me and the only picture someone will find is of me with one eye half-closed, or wearing a really ugly bathrobe from you-know-where. (Don't bother to look--you won't find one unless you took it one morning when I was out with the dogs. In which case, you're stalking me, so, go away!)
As you can see by the vast array of dopey, poorly photographed shots I have lying around here, I think I'm almost over all that now. (Still no bathrobe, though!)
I had to look at the date. We were near the end of a long work week. P was gone and I was single-parenting. You can tell by my shell-shocked look.
RL sweater (Sam's): $21, Miley Cyrus cami: $7: Earrings: $7; Faded Glory Jeans: $15 Total: $50
Here I am. Hard at work--bad hair and very little make-up. I really hate how flat my hair gets in the winter. Is yours that way?
George turtle: $10; Miley/Max Azria vest: $14; Norma Kamali cords: $15; Earrings: $69 (Sam's); Necklace: $8 Total: $116
Out with the dogs, Sat. a.m.
Misc. Wal-Mart and Sam's stuff: about $60, plus my cute red rubber boots: $25
Must run. I'm off to meet with a book club which just read ISABELLA MOON!