Monday, January 28, 2008

A Departure

For a long time, I have been wrestling with ideas of body acceptance both on my own personal level and on a societal level.

My two daughter's are a part of the catalyst for that.
The idea of either of them every saying that they hate their bodies or even just a specific area of themselves, makes me feel physically ill.

Our situation is somewhat unique in how much influence I have over their ideas about shape and self.
We home school, which means that they are with me for the majority of each day, not with other girls of the same age and we don't have cable tv (and we don't watch the free channels either), nor do we have magazine subscriptions to anything to do with glamour or vogue or celebrity.
That makes me it, right now, the place where they get their ideas about female beauty, strength and ability from.

Fleeting as that is, it is also very powerful and has me examining what I say out loud and inside about my own body.

Just for the record, yes, the whole family has library cards and are allowed and encouraged to read and watch all kinds of fiction and non fiction, we go out of the house and into society more than we don't and our decision to home school has nothing to do with ideology - it just turned out to be what worked best for us and we are registered with and support our public school system (which has an actual building and staff specific to administering and supporting home schooling).

Cameras are a big part of my life these days, I love using them, but I find it very difficult to have them turned on me as the subject -- as do many, many people.
And people are my very favourite subject.
In order to understand and be sensitive of their discomfort, which in turn will hopefully help me to take better pictures, I have slowly begun to turn to self portraiture.

It's been hard to do.
Sure pointing the camera at myself and clicking the button isn't hard, but keeping the shot, examining them, has been.

Now add to that mix that I bare any part of my body and then publish it?

Let's just say, it took two days for me to actually do it.

Well, let's make that more like hmmmm (I was 10 the last time I thought I had a great, strong body and I'm.....okay).....31 years for me to actually do it.

Here I am.
Low light.
Late at night.
In my grandmother's mirror.

1/8 shutter
50mm lens
Canon 30d
iso 160


Ampersand said...



And fascinating, because I just had the same idea, and reasons, enter my head a couple of days ago.

Not sure I'm ready yet, though.

Ampersand said...

p.s. we homeschool too. and for pretty much the same reasons. cool. :)

Yankee, Transferred said...

WOnderful, wonderful, wonderful. Good mama, and great photograph.

M&Co. said...

Very nice. Very brave.

Yondalla said...

I've thought about it since I first went the mother's body web site -- I think you mentioned it.

I'm a long way from actually DOING it though.

It is a beautiful and courageous photo.

nadia said...

and you are SO beautiful. very proud of you!

jo(e) said...


ipm said...

I really appreciate this!

the photo and the blog both... :)))

well done...

concretegodmother said...

you ARE a gawdess!!! you are braver and more progressed than i, but i'll take courage from you and vow to make this year my year.

so very many parallels: body image issues (some inherited, some my very own), hate being the subject of the camera, people as favorite photo subject, i was homeschooled from 3rd to 6th grade, no tv till i was 15, and fierce reader and library patron from age 3. Differences: i'm not a mom, though i do have 160 kids, and so i'm acutely aware of the role of modeling healthy thought and behavior. i'm wrestling, too, if it's any comfort.

you. rock. utterly.

concretegodmother said...

p.s. wonderful low/available light shot. just enough detail. beautiful subject.

and somehow i feel its significant that it's your grandmother's mirror. it's a resonant connection down generations, somehow.

Scrivener said...

Well, I'm always happy when someone posts self-portraits, btu special congratulations to you for conquering those fears and posting this. I've always been interested in self-portraiture as a concept, but didn't do all that much of it until the Whiskerino in 2005, when I posted a picture of myself almost every day for 4 months--it turned out to be a transformative experience for me.

I think this shot turned out beautifully too.

Ampersand said...

Hey, I come back even more impressed with this shot, because I tried to get one today and failed.

It's not easy to do on many levels!

Also, I just noticed the title departure and like it's many possible meanings.

I have another idea, so I will keep trying.

From Away said...

Great ideas here. Good for you.

Marcia said...

Go you!!!

Granny said...

Beautiful. You're much braver than I.

Billie said...

This is so beautiful . . . and like Marcia and other have said, "You go, girl!"

bsouth said...

What a beautiful picture and what a beautiful person you are. I feel priviledged to have seen your pictures.

Cloudscome said...

The turn of your head, the slope of your shoulder... says all this. You have me tearing up. You are beautiful inside and out girl!

Lomagirl said...

I did a life drawing class in college- an almost naked model with beautiful rolls of flesh and velvety skin, who was about 75 years old, and a man of the same age whose skin draped around his hard muscular legs. I learned that the human body is so beautiful in any form because of the life force it contains.
This might be a fun homeschooling clss with some modifications. I'm glad you are thinking about these issues with your daughters. I think I'm going to do a post on the human body, soon.

About Me


Photo Quotes
When I ask to photograph someone, it is because I love the way they look and I think I make that clear. I'm paying them a tremendous compliment. What I'm saying is, I want to take you home with me and look at you for the rest of my life.
- Amy Arbus