photographic evidence

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
ribcage. Huh.

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.

11 Replies to “photographic evidence”

  1. you look beautiful!! and what a beautiful way to showcase our unique personalities through our fashion styles.. i love the wardrobe remix.. thanks!

  2. You sound so very much like me. I love to look at those kinds of pictures. I get inspired by them, and I get jealous of them because I want to be cute and funky and fabulous, too. And all I ever think of the people who take them and post them is that they’re cute and fabulous. But when I think about doing that sort of thing myself, I feel ridiculous, and I’m absolutely positive that if people saw them they would think I was shallow and vain. Don’t we all have stupid double standards for ourselves?

  3. It’s a good plan, and one that should be embraced. Because if nothing else you know then, with photographic proof certain angles and poses that you look the way you like. See? Here is this photo, and in it there is a me that I like to look at as much as the me I like to think that I am.

  4. I use my self timer a lot! I am in the middle of a project entitled “Project 366” where I am supposed to take a picture of myself everyday and post it on my myspace page photos. It is supposed to represent what that day was like and/or what my mood was that day. There’s 366 days in this year because this is a leap year. It doesn’t have to include my whole body or even my face, but some part of me has to be in the picture. Everyday. I’ve missed two days so far. Not too bad. But the thing I noticed is exactly what you talked about in regards to the mirror not always being honest. I find that the camera is also not all that honest ALL the time. I really only trust the images where I look the same in my photos as I do in the mirror images. Because there are days that, well, to put it bluntly, holy crap! I look horrifying sometimes. There are some days where it is hard to take a picture where I look even somewhat presentable. Days where I say “Wow. Is THAT what I look like? REALLY? But…. I look so cute in the mirror? How can this be?” but there are other days where I take pictures and look stunningly beautiful. And on those days I also exclaim “Wow. Is THAT what I look like? For real and for true?” And there are days where I simply shrug and say “Yup. That’s me.” But all in all, it’s been a very interesting and fun process. And I am glad that I will have a record of just about every day this year. I also recommend taking lovely “pretty pictures” of your absolute favorite attributes. Calves, toes, lps, eyes…. etc…. whatever parts you like best. It will make you feel SO pretty. ;-)

  5. arrange your place and clean up! tsk tsk tsk. hah sorry my mother is in town visiting me and i had a sudden urge to yell that ;)

  6. You are so gorgey! That is such a great idea, to take cute fashion photos of yourself. All I’ve taken lately are grim “progress photos” and this would be so much better.

    I was actually looking at my legs at a certain angle last night and thinking it would be cool to take a picture but then I thought that would be so horribly self-indulgent that I couldn’t. But now you’ve got me thinking – Why the heck not?

  7. You look fab. I love this idea. If I can ever figure out my effing self timer, I will also be taking photos of the indulging of the self variety. Thanks for sharing.

  8. You just still aren’t used to your new body, like a teen. If you were totally self-absorbed, you would have written “Eat, Pray, Love”.

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