Finger the fear out of me, I’m longing for your ease. My bigness consumed by your business. all that I am, delighting in your hands & the way they hold what is bitter so sweetly. My stinging nettles becoming something intriguing.
This poem and other works like it are available in my new book. Pre-orders open until Feb 1st for only 15$. You can order yours here.
I’ve always loved self-portraits. I think it was actually the reason I ever became invested in photography.
The ability to capture yourself in a raw, whole state. To see yourself objectively, as a subject. To think about how you want to portray yourself and work within how that actually comes across. It feels like a practice of proprioception – seeing how we come across vs. how it feels in ourselves.
My smile is never as big as it is in my head. A particular angle makes me look young. I think I am happy yet I look lost. It’s funny how self-portraiture has always made me feel foreign to myself as much as it has made me feel at home in myself as well.
I think that “selfie” culture, something I actively participate in, got somehow diluted. Our way of thinking about people when they are taking a picture of themselves is almost inherently negative, frowned upon. Seen as attention seeking, or somehow inappropriate. Somehow we have made a line in the sand between a selfie and a self portrait as if they aren’t the same affect. As if documenting ourselves and our own beauty and happiness and experience of life isn’t something to be celebrated.
I love the quality that comes from a real camera, like I can see the density of myself more with it. I like the privacy of it; of getting away from the epicentre of communication that is our phones; our perceptions of ourselves, of our places, of our faces.
I have an older DSLR camera and you cannot see the photo on the face of the screen. You have to look through the eyehole to see the picture. You have to trust your set up, have patience, be able to see yourself in half-formed ways immortalized in the between photos. I love the pile of books and rocks and odd objects I balance my camera on because I lost my tripod. I love the way lighting sometimes just fucking works. The moment you look at yourself immortalized exactly as you feel and realizing just how it is you feel once you see the photo.
I was self-conscious for so long about what people would think of someone who took so many photos of themselves. Am I a narcissist? Am I full of myself? Is there a reason for all of this? Is it really art? Does it need to be art?
I like the bags under my eyes. The red lipstick. My boyfriends sweater. That I’m sitting on a stack of books. That my hair feels like it belongs to a higher version of myself – like I was shedding half-lives when I cut it. That I don’t feel like I need to wear face makeup and that these are photos I will probably use as head shots and I love the idea that I’m getting over the “stigma” of taking my own head shots. That I can display so many parts of myself here and honour all of them. I love that I am excited.
I’m excited to take on one of my resolutions this year to take more photos with my real camera, and I’m happy to include myself in that process as well.
Embracing how we want to be seen. How we want to see ourselves. What we want our world to look like.
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A short story from my newest book Under The Callous
“yeah I don’t know man, I feel like, why would I want to sleep with someone you’ve slept with, and care about, when we live in a city of like… a couple million people, ya know? It just lacks, like… integrity.” I wiggle my fingers at this last sentence, and bring them together in a neat little tipi to illustrate that I have found the word I am looking for. That I give it a home in my palm.
“Hmm, I mean in a way I can’t say anything because I’ve done it. But I did it when I was denying that I’m a garbage human. Now I know I’m a garbage human.” There was conflict in her eyes, the insecurity she felt coagulating with the anger of the situation. I’m not sure I even know what the situation is or if we are discussing the potential of one. Wondering if either was justified. “I feel like she’s just doing it because she can.”
“Maybe. I can’t speak for her, obviously, but it seems like if you’ve talked about you liking him before and she knows that you’ve slept with him, then why even bother pursuing it? I think it would be different if there wasn’t any knowledge, or if she had had feelings for him before hand. But this seems almost like a seed was planted or something? And she has some like, competitive thing to prove to herself? Or maybe she isn’t even aware and is just insecure in the way that she’ll go after him because she knows he’s interested in someone else. Like a power ploy.” I was trying to justify the way she felt about the actions without giving away that I think she is the one who needs to do the work. That analyzations of others don’t amount to an understanding of your own feelings; feelings she would be in denial about until she could face them with something that would transform them.