Hey there... how about we have a little chat, eh?
As I sit here in my old Deftones shirt with holes in it and my blue plaid pajama pants, under my fuzzy blanket, listening to music at 10:51 pm, I just want to talk about self preservation through photography.
I have always been a shy kid, and as a teenager I hated my photo being taken. Being self-conscious definitely had something to do with that, but that is a whole other can of worms that I won't be getting into. When I was a teen, I had already established that photos were my way of relating to the world, so when I look back on it now, it's a shame that I wasn't confident enough in myself and the way I looked to be in more photos.
Lately, I've started to only wear makeup when I leave the house to go on photoshoots or be at networking meetings, and sometimes out with friends. I've stopped dressing up for other people, and more for myself. I smile more in photos, and I laugh at myself in funny videos. Maybe it's just that I'm getting more mature and confident, or maybe I just don't have enough energy to put into worrying and stressing about how other people perceive my appearance, or maybe it's both. Whatever it is, it's given me freedom.
This past year or so, the departure from my childhood has been ever-present. I find myself thinking about the things i did as a kid, the summers I spent playing outside and getting my hands dirty with sticky tree sap, and dirt under my finger nails. My childhood is now a world that I can never go back to, a world that only exists in my memories. It’s very bitter-sweet.
But as I was composing a caption for this photo, I wrote this. "I’m starting to enjoy having photos taken of me, even the unflattering ones sometimes. I just want to be able to look back and see the people I was with and the places I went. I want to hold onto my youth in every way I can, and watch myself and those around me grow up. I’m constantly taking photos of other people, and I don’t want to forget that I am worth photographing too."
I posted it to my social media, and the more I thought about it, the more I started to feel it. The photo I posted was taken on a trip that Austin and I took together, and this was the first time out of the three total road trips we've gone on that I had handed him my camera to take photos of me as well. And I'm so glad that I did. He brought out my smile and my happiness.
Since last Fall, I've gotten my portraits taken by my photographer friend Carissa, and I took some self portraits in my backyard right before I turned 20. I've taken quite a handful of selfies and phone videos of Austin and I, or my friends and I. My hands have even made it in a few photos. I want to hold onto my youth for as long as I can. I want to look back on photos of my smiling face or my hand in the orange sunset light. I want to be able to see myself with the people who were important to me at the time. I want to see the growth in my face, and the years of exploring and experiencing. I want to see myself when I was just a 19, 20, 23, 25 year old woman with some spontaneity still left in her bones.
But one other reason I want to collect photos of me, is so I can show my kids. I loved seeing photos of my parent's when they were young, and I want that for my kids. I want my daughter or son to feel connected to me in that way, and I want them to see my dorky, young, and happy face along-side their father's. I want to see their eyebrows raised and their mouth open because I am standing in front of the Grand Canyon.
I am constantly pointing my camera at other people, and everything that is in front of me. It's an amazing gift, it truly is. I am never going to stop documenting the world around me, and creating magic in front of me. But I am starting to embrace myself, and I'm realizing that I want to photograph myself too. In the cloud of memories and things I am chasing after, I don't want to lose myself and my growth.
Everyone has a story and memories attached to them, even the people documenting those stories.