I've never been comfortable having my picture taken, ever. I dislike how my face photographs 85% of the time, and there's something about ceding control of my image to another person that I've always found risky. The second someone points a camera at me I become conscious of my outsides in a way that seems to transform them into something apart from myself; I so often look at photos and feel utterly distant from the person they depict.
The other day I had a conversation with a friend about the act of self-portraiture vs. having someone else take your picture. My friend had just started a project where he takes a portrait of himself once a week and posts it on Instagram. Coincidentally, I had just taken my first ever self-portrait (the one on the bio page of this website), and as I told him, I liked the experience much more than posing for someone else. I also like the picture itself -- it looks like a me that I recognize, and it feels like me, somehow.
This all got me pondering my endless baggage about photos of myself -- it's pretty much the only superficial hangup I've made no progress with post-puberty. And I get even weirder about posting pictures of myself on social media. If I find some reason to dislike the picture then I want to bury it; if I think I look great, posting it feels vain (and that's another ten essays right there).
So, since this has already sort of become the year of Girl Just Live Your Life Already, I've decided to do the same thing as my friend: take a photo of myself once a week, and post it on Instagram. No matter what kind of mood I'm in, and even if I don't get a shot I like.
But because I'm me, I'm going to include a writing component with my Sunday self-portraits, as part of a larger blogging project that will combine my newfound photography habit with my much-less-newfound writing... whatever it is we want to call my relationship with writing. Most of the work will be original, but I'll likely post and/or discuss content by others who engage with the ideas I want to investigate.
The theme is that I want explore the intersection between identity and location. This can simply mean exploring the identity of a location, or how a location (like New York City) can have a multitude of indentities. But it can also refer to the idea of locating the self in different contexts, or how location and context impacts one's identity and sense of self, particularly as a woman.
This is rather broad and nebulous and like with all creative projects, it will likely only solidify as I go along. But the one rule is that on Sundays, I will always post a self-portrait along with a piece of writing about where I'm at.
So, here we are and here I am. Happy Sunday.