Friday, 7 August 2009

Body Image and a Project I'm working on

So, I've been working on this thing. I joined one of those Flickr, 365 self-portraits in 365 days on my birthday this year. This is picture 43. The idea for this project grew out of a "powerful women" idea that I had way back in the day when I still lived in Iowa City and worked at a bookstore shelving magazines. The original thought was that people in general are involved in many narratives and we use these narratives to build our conception of ourselves. And, I'm interested in women in particular because I feel like one of the things that smart, strong, successful, powerful women do is perform the parts of their identity that they think are the most important, that they want to be the most salient in such a way that it can't be ignored. That you see what they see because, for lack of a better way to put it, they are such masters of appearance that they allow their interpretation of whatever feature is relevant to be not only a violable option, but the most likely option were you to talk or think or come up with a notion about them. So, How do you do that? And, how do we, as individuals decide (if we decide consciously at all) what is most important about ourselves and how do we then make that something other people see and think is important, too. This interests me.

So, the original idea was to sit down with awesome women that I know and interview them and discuss image and how they like to be perceived and how they try to make their ideas about who they are known, but for now I'm my guinea pig for these 365 days and then we'll see where things go after that. This picture is the furthest out on a limb that I've been during this project. I hope to get more adventurous (and better at lighting and angles) as time goes on. The idea behind this one was stple, I find a nice soak in the bath with a book to be a most enjoyable experience. And, part of that experience is adding a little extra hot water to the tub when it cools down a bit. For some reason, it makes me think a little bit about Marilyn Monroe in the Seven Year Itch, only she'd be sitting in a cool bathtub because it was just so hot in New York. I guess this means that the photo (since, yes, I just compared myself to Marilyn Monroe) may be inadvertently sexy. But, that wasn't the intention.

True Story.


  1. I love this idea about performing our identities. Fabulous. And a great picture.

  2. Thanks. I don't remember where I exactly I got it, but I like it, too. It really rings true for me that who we are is as much about what we do and how we do what we do (The performance) as it is just something that we are. I don't think identities are these inert things that are just labels, but rather something agentive that we actually work on.