I just spent 15 minutes with the newly discovered self-timer on my camera, taking photos of myself. What else do you do with a self-timer on a camera, except take photos of yourself, I ask you? There is nothing else. Unless you are a spy of some sort, and in that case, I imagine that a little point and shoot Canon is a little under-dressed for your standard-issue spy, who has brushed-black-steel equipment that could re-enter the atmosphere on its own, taking out enemies and crisp, HD-quality pictures and toasting bread all the way down.
I do not have a spy camera–I just have an outfit on that I like very much. It’s not fancy or particularly fabulous, but after a morning spent perusing fashion blogs (for work! I love my job) written by adorable girls with incredible senses of quirky style and filled with pictures of themselves looking pensively off in the distance, squinting up at a spot on the wall, looking down as if suddenly struck with a feeling of self-consciousness (though I want to say, How could you be self-conscious when you look like that? I mean, really), I was suddenly filled with the urge to look pensive, too (see above. Pensive!). There’s a cottage industry, this taking photos of yourself in cute outfits, and then posting them on your blog and throwing them into the Flickr Pool called Wardrobe Remix, which is a pool dedicated to cute people in quirky outfits taking pictures of themselves.
When I page through these photos of these interesting-looking
people–women, mostly–I am loving it. I’m inspired by it and their
creativity. I’m inspired to be cute and quirky and fashionable and
awesome. It is even cute how narcissistic and at the same time
bizarrely un-self-aware it is, to be posing in such a studiedly casual,
faux-nonchalant way, as if they’re saying, Oh, this old thing? I just
threw it on this morning. Do you really think I’m gorgeous? How
charming of you to say so! I never noticed, really.
When I think about doing it myself–trying to be cute, and quirky and
fashionable and awesome, and posting pictures of myself as if to say, Don’t you agree? Aren’t I just too much?–I don’t think I can pull that
off. On me it seems ridiculously self-indulgent, and more than a little
But–how can I explain this so it makes sense? It doesn’t seem to make
much sense, but I’ll tell you: it’s all these things coming together–a
morning looking at wardrobe remix photos, that impromptu photo shoot of awhile back (when I learned how differently
the mirror and a photo could reflect my body, how it took that one
degree of separation to make me realize what my body actually looks
like, how clothes hang and catch on both my curves and my lumps), an
outfit I like, a camera sitting on my bedstand, a self-timer I figured
out how to work. And then a series of silly pictures of me looking
wistfully off into the distance, up at a spot on the wall, with my chin
down and shoulders rolled forward, hands in my pocket. Calculated
insouciance that might (ought to) be confused with total dorkiness. And
it was fun. I cannot tell you how much fun it was, to prance around in
front of a camera because I like how I look. It’s a whole new world for
me–amazed that that is me, there in the photo preview. That’s my body,
and oh, that’s a pretty cute outfit, and hey. Wow. So that’s me.
So I want to do the wardrobe remix thing–a photo of my outfit every
day, or every so often–as, well, let’s call it a body-image experiment.
I want to be able to see my body objectively, force myself to really
look at how it is shaped and what I look good in and what I should
avoid. From today: I look good in yellow; I’m not exactly an
hourglass–my hips are surprisingly narrow, though I have a nipped-in
waist; I have to work on liking my thighs and my belly, but knee-length
shorts are a good length for shorts, for me. I also have a very wide
Over a series of photographs, maybe I can figure out my body from the
outside to such an extent that I can be comfortable on the inside, too.
Maybe I can learn the confidence that comes when you know exactly what
you look like, and exactly how you come across: the exact and complete
happiness that comes from that. There is nothing like the confidence
that comes from knowing your own skin; there’s nothing like the
confidence that comes from knowing you look good in your clothes.
There’s also the fact that I like to play with colors and clothes and
accessories and try to look as totally awesomely adorable as possible,
and I want incentive to keep doing it. And–I could be a narcissist. I
could be completely self-indulgent. I could just purely enjoy taking
self-portraits. I could be a ham. No, I am definitely a ham.