Okay! This is what I’ve been thinking about, vis-à-vis the picture project, in which I have exhorted you to please participate, please, while all the while being vague and mysterious (and confusing) about the circumstances, a situation for which I apologize. My excuse is that my idea in the first place was vague and amorphous, and that I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted, though I knew it was a totally cool idea.

But I have been thinking about it, and this is where I am, now, and please tell me if this makes any more sense: I am not interested in befores and afters, because no one is an after. We are all, if I may totally coin a phrase which I hope someday will become a popular cliché, beautiful works in progress.

There may be a before the point in which you are at now, a turning point where you decided to become more comfortable with your body, or changed the way you took care of it. But I don’t want "this is before I was good enough," and I don’t want "this is after I became worth something," because that is lies.

I am interested in the history of our bodies, whatever that history
is–how we change over the years, go up in sizes and down, and how the
changes in our bodies are documented. That is what I want us to look at.

I want to think of our bodies as a continuum, our sizes and shapes as
the spectrum of possibilities we inhabit, and I want to see how pretty
you all are. I want to tell you how pretty you all are.

Does that make sense? Send me a collection of photos that go as far back as you want to go, to the present. Tell me about yourself in
those photos, where you where and how you felt, and then tell me where
you are now.

Lovely Melinda has it exactly right:

Done and sent. And all of them are pre-surgery, and most of them are
not flattering, but you know what? They’re still some of my favorite
pictures. And they will be even after I’ve got a bunch of "after" shots
to add to the albums, because for me, pictures are about the memories.
I’m not skinny, so I’m not going to look skinny in the pictures. I’ll
admit, it’s taken me many, many years and a definite "fuck it" attitude
to be able to accept the pictures of myself, but I am so very, very
glad to be there.

And so does the wonderful j:

I’ve been thinking a lot about your photoreality project…not in terms
of before and after, but in terms of then and now. So many times I
thought I was fat and wasn’t (I now see)…and now that I am, I like
myself a lot more. Most of the time. Like on Saturday when I looked
pretty amazing and actually managed to have my photo taken in that

And then there are ‘those’ pictures…like ones of me teaching a two-year-old to do the chicken dance or whatever…where I wonder at the
enormity of myself…where did it come from? How did I let it happen?

You guys are more eloquent than me.

Any questions? I’ll answer them in the comments, or you can e-mail me at And thank you, to everyone who has so far sent in
pictures. You guys are wonderful, and I will e-mail you soon.

Thank you also to all of you, for indulging me in this.

2 Replies to “clariphotofication”

  1. Crud – I have wait until I get my new scanner in order to be able to send a history of photos. All I have digitally are pics from the last two years – my heaviest and on my way down the scale. There are so many other years to me than those ones, but they are old-fashioned film photos in a box and albums.

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