Music / Real life

all of me

i realize that i get shy at weird times… in some ways, perhaps, it is an endearing quality… i get shy when i am complimented, for instance.

And what greater compliment can be paid than for someone to train a lens on you? Each snap says, “what I see in you is something worth capturing… worth saving… worth having”

So, part of my reluctance to sit for a photographer has to do with that, i suppose. i don’t mind being the center of attention – in my job it is a requirement – but this is different… more intimate… an odd little Ménage à trois… me, the photographer, the camera. i feel awkward, i feel out of my element.

i often permit photos of myself that are nothing more than bits and pieces. In this way, i suppose, i feel i maintain control. You can’t have all of me, but here… here is a photo of my lips. Later? Here are my eyes. Together? All of me? Never… never.

Unrelated… having the camera trained on me? It takes me to a dark place. The lens steals from me my movement… it captures not me, but a ghost of me… and once captured, it can be shared, manipulated, used to shame me or sell me… depending on the caption it is given, the context in which it is presented. Once taken, that part of me is gone from under my control forever. My personal history includes a dark period of time when a camera was used to violate me in reprehensible ways… by someone who was supposed to protect and cherish me.  Those early experiences color my perceptions and make it difficult to trust the human on the other side of the camera.

Photos are powerful things.  We frame them on our walls, scatter them about our offices, tuck them in our wallets, and put them on our computer desktops. The images proclaim: i have peoplethese are my people.  The images detail our accomplishments and provide proof of the big catch. They also promise us a tiny slice of immortality, i think. People that love us can smile at the memory of good times, weep with loss, just connect with their emotions about us, by viewing those images. When relationships don’t end well? Those same images can be used in all manner of cathartic ways… we shred or burn those images… we rip them in half, symbolically separating ourselves from the other person… we bury them in boxes or trunks… or perhaps we tuck them between the pages of a favorite book… just to put them away for now… to deal with them later.

i’d like to be able to document my life visually, i suppose. i’m working through these issues, i think… i hope.

Baby steps… i’m taking baby steps. i have no need to pose, but rather, i have need to not fear posing.

All of Me (Billie Holiday)


And… when i think of photographs, this is the song that leaps to mind… sweet & sad.

Picture by Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow

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