of image & identity

I’ve recently become more acutely aware of this two-year gap in my visual record — there exists merely a handful of pictures of me that can be dated back to the last two years. Most of them, I believe, have been taken by my mother during my occasional visit to my family. This, taken in a bathroom of the Gladstone Hotel, near the end of May this year, is my most recent self-portrait. Or if one’s definition of self-portrait involves a more limited definition whereby the face should not be obscured, then this would count as my most recent self-portrait, taken last October, during my temporary long-distance relationship, after I dropped Lucas off at the GO Station following his Thanksgiving visit.

My two-year-long lack of self-portraiture is a bit odd, considering that during my stint in Edmonton, I had the habit of turning the camera on myself every so often. I refer to “self-portraiture” because I tend to be the one wielding the camera; save for the few rare occasions when he does pick up my camera to curiously peer through the viewfinder and sometimes, even take a picture, Lucas doesn’t seem to have much of an interest in photography, even for the mere and typical purpose of cementing memory. In terms of my life history, like most people, I’ve always had pictures taken of me, albeit, they were all very much the proverbial snapshot to document positive experiences and milestones. Soon after Lucas and I began going out, fresh snapshots — you know, the kind with a handful of friends grinning stupidly into the camera lens — began to disappear, likely because I slowly stopped hanging out with my friends (often, occasions that begged to be visually memorialized) and spending more time at the library studying or with Lucas (I was very much enamoured with being in a new relationship).

The two-year dearth of images can be more or less traced back to May 2005, when I finally and gratefully returned to Ontario from Edmonton. A number of events coincided with this momentous juncture in time. One, kindled by a more serious interest in photography, I started to rely more heavily on a film SLR, rather than my dinky point-and-shoot digital camera. In time, this heavy use graduated to being exclusive use, and the kinds of images I was creating shifted too — much, if not all of it, was more about looking outward than being introspective. Quite obviously, in comparison to a film camera, a digital camera is much more forgiving in terms of cost and the instant gratification afforded by the tiny LCD screen widens the opportunity for re-takes. Some might call the latter either a charming quality of film cameras while others might label it a glaring disadvantage. Personally, I’m on the fence for this one. My digital camera has since, due perhaps to lengthy unuse, decided to frequently malfunction on me. This puts a rather large cramp in any widespread ideas or efforts I have to even remotely begin to re-attempt self-portraiture.

May 2005 was also the time when I decided, in preparation for trying to conceive and an indirect response to my loudly-ticking biological clock, that I would get off birth control after having been on it for over three years. [This turned out to be quite premature since the male half involved in procreation wasn’t duly ready to do so till late last year.] This preparatory move, ironically and very unfortunately, sent my hormones into a prolonged frenzy of imbalance that manifested itself as horribleannoyingdisgusting acne that antibiotics couldn’t even help (biology really ought to dictate that people outside of their teens should no longer be prone to such things). I am anything but confident enough to feel good walking around with a faceful of frightful acne, especially since I no longer have the very reasonable excuse of teenagehood. The hormonal upheaval lasted at least a year, and to this day, I still break out when I really shouldn’t. Not to mention, I’m now scarred (in my early twenties, I really thought I got off lucky without any bad breakouts and scarring. I was so wrong) and very annoyed that I’m scarred. It’s quite safe to say that I don’t feel the same about myself as I did prior to this unfortunate period. I think the horror of the protracted breakout not only exacerbated any inkling of self-consciousness I might have already had, but also extinguished any desire to be photographed, whether by others or myself (primarily, the latter).

Hypocritically, in my most recent final semester, my independent paper on visual anthropology examined the kinds of snapshots most people tend to create, particularly how only certain scenes or poses are adopted in the photographs so as to construct a visual narrative of a positive, happy life, true or otherwise. What tends to be absent from most family albums are the negative moments or scenes where the subjects just don’t quite look up to par to the unspoken definition of ‘looking good’. It seems that while I endear photographs that depict these scenes and I’ve expressedly contradicted this notion in many of the photographs I’ve made, when it comes to myself, by avoiding self-portraiture altogether, I’ve unconsciously fallen into the greater trap of constructing an ‘ideal’ narrative of myself by deliberately excluding images of myself during my low points.

Thus, in a manner of practicality and vanity, here we are now — two years and very little to visually show for my existence in that time. For that matter, in comparison with my time in Edmonton, I’ve done very little writing too, yet another measure, I consider, of my existence. I could say that I’ve been in more-or-less in school during that time (school sucks time and injects a level of mundanity and regularity that doesn’t scream the need to be written about). I wonder though, if it also has some tie-in with issues of identity and my lack of visual documentation, particularly since the content of the photographs I was creating experienced a marked shift during this time.

I’m quite mortified by myself, that I would even let it get to this point. I hate the fact that it happened and that there is no way to undo it. Let it be known that I very much enjoy photographs, particularly of people I know. When my parents return from each of their trips to Singapore, I’m much more interested in photographs of relatives than I am of the environment. Although, I will admit that if I were there myself, the reverse would be true. I think also inherent in the gap is my desire to separate myself from the masses and not engage in snapshot photography. I became the photographer rather than the subject, cleaving the two roles rather than going for duality.

In a world of what-ifs and what-could’ve-beens, I would now have a much more extensive visual record of myself, even with the unfortunate acne. For that matter, I would’ve used that period as an opportunity to explore matters of image and identity. But that didn’t happen. And I don’t have this record. Just smatterings of my likeness showing up in a trickling of obligatorily-posed-for images.

Over the past few days, highly uncomfortable with and much more aware of the lack of images, I’ve been wondering if I’m now settled enough with myself, proverbially put, comfortable enough in my own skin to take on the dual roles of photographer and subject and once again begin documenting my image and by extension, my identity. In recently photographing some unintended scars that I was momentarily quite proud of, I think the process has, in a way, already been partially restarted. The question lies in whether the process can be extended to the rest of me (as well as the means by which this can be accomplished, what with the temperamental digital camera and all). Perhaps it’s a matter of having to jump in no matter how cold the water is and hanging in there till it’s no longer cold.


22 responses

  1. I think that I’ve mentioned this before, but I went through a long period of time in which I refused to let anyone take my photo. I still really hate it mostly because I hate posing for snapshots. Because I guess I don’t know how to pose. It’s interesting to look through some people’s photos on facebook, for example, because they look exactly the same in all of their photos.

    so in the past little while, i’m okay with my family taking photos of me, but i’m not okay with friends taking photos of me to put on facebook. this sounds so pety, but i really hate it.

    anyway. i obsessively pick at anything on my face that isn’t smooth, so i always have bad skin. i have this ability of making a monster out of a blackhead that no one would have been able to see to begin with. last summer, when i got back home, i finally realized that i’d gained a lot of weight and that i had been destroying my face. well, this realization comes every year. last year, i took a lot of photographs of my skin in the morning one day and was completely repulsed by them. they’re hidden on a cd somewhere. i just wish that i could stop. i do have scars, but i use vichy normaderm and most of the scars go away within two weeks. i just wish that i could stop picking so that i wouldn’t have to use it anymore, because my skin is allergic to it and i get a little rash around my mouth when i use it. but whenever i’m stressed or just concentrating, i scratch my face compulsively. i’m doing it right now, actually! it’s like a reflex. i wonder if there was something that i could put on my face that would make it better. i used to put petrolium jelly on it years ago because if i picked, i would at least not really damage my skin and also because i would hate to pick at it because my fingers would be full of dirty skin cells and petrolium jelly.

    all i need is a little self-control. when i was doing my photo project, i stopped picking at my skin just because of that. but now that i hardly ever even leave my house, i don’t really have a reason to make myself feel guilty about picking. i’m doing it again!

    maybe i should just take a photograph each morning again so that i will have proof of how much damage i can do in one day. i think that i will, actually. i will start tomorrow. now that i have a digital camera, it’ll be a lot easier.

    i think that i’m going to organize my photos from my photo project now. you’ve inspired me to think about photographs as identity again.

    June 10, 2007 at 9:34 pm

  2. just do it.
    you find all this stuff out, when you do.

    June 11, 2007 at 1:32 am

  3. I decided the other night, that if we ever collaborate (it should actually be, when we collaborate) it would be nice to have something to do with pictures and writing. Just because I think both are important to each of our lives. Pictures of what and writings on what, I don’t know yet. But I can definitely picture something like that.

    I don’t like having my picture taken, because I don’t like the way I look.. I feel like I haven’t settled into my skin yet, like I’m still in some sort of awkward adolescent phase. It’s funny you mention self-portraits because all of a sudden, that last last roll I had: it had a handfull of self-ports. This is after a long time of not taking any. I used to take a bunch when my digital camera battery was dying – like, let me be super narcissistic until the power goes out!

    I came across a self-portrait/double exposure that I did 2 years back and I wondered why I stopped doing them. It was fun and strange and ghostly.

    I hardly ever take pictures with friends anymore.. it’s weird, I grew out of it (not that I was ever very much into it to begin with). Especially nowadays I have no purpose of doing so, besides just for keeps. It’s not like I post them in my non-existent myspace or anything.

    p.s. That last email I sent you was sort of in response to this.. (by the way!)

    June 11, 2007 at 4:19 am

  4. You’re right.
    I’ve just got to jump into it, like it or not right now (well, once I figure out what’s going on with my camera!).

    June 11, 2007 at 3:07 pm

  5. I was thinking exactly the same thing — words and pictures — with regard to a collaboration. I remember you mentioning that you’d like to do something creative, like a magazine. I’ve been thinking for quite a while how I’d like to create something like that too. Although, I’m not exactly sure what it’d be like content-wise and how it’d be filling an unexploited niche (you know what they say). Also, what you mentioned before about ‘trying to do some good’ in the process. I would definitely like that too. I read about groups that are able to do that — be creative and do some good — and I wonder what we could possibly do, that’s unique enough that people would sit up and take notice (as opposed to brushing you off as simply being like everyone else already out there).

    A lot of not having my picture taken lies in not liking how I look too. There are very few times that I feel I look decent enough to have my picture taken. Lucas tells me all the time that I’m beautiful (often when I’m bumming around the house in PJs) and it’s not easy to be convinced by what he says, especially since I don’t agree. Now, if I were to dress up and he says that, then that’s obviously a much different story. But he’s doing the love-you-no-matter-how-you-look thing, and it’s cute and it’s sweet and I should appreciate it.

    I still very much think of myself as an adolescent (GIRL, not lady, not woman!) and along with that comes that awkwardness, like what you said. You’re not that far off from being an awkward adolescent, so I think it’s still okay for you to not feel entirely comfortable in your skin yet. Plus, I think the fact that you’re very much a student still (unlike me, who keeps going back as a real student or otherwise), means that you haven’t yet settled into what could be termed a lifelong identity (eg. banker, construction worker). [This is not to say that you will or should settle into an identity that only encompasses your occupation. For one, I don’t see you as doing that. And for another, I highly discourage that too]. I think what I mean to say here is that perhaps people who’ve settled into an identity, are more comfortable exuding certain aspects of themselves and they’re lacking the awkwardness that we feel like we have.

    You know, when you were at Brock, and you posted or emailed pictures or yourself, I always thought that was cute. It always made my day, to see pictures of you (or pictures made by you). Actually, that should be in present tense, ’cause it still does. I was going through some old pictures, taken when I first got the digital camera. And I’m such a camwhore in those. I think gradually, as digital cameras exploded in popularity, and everyone everywhere was doing the same, I felt the need to stop doing that, because I didn’t “want to be like everyone else”.

    I was very much inspired by your Red Dress series, by the way. It’s something that I often feel like I should do (not exactly that of course, but the intent behind it) but I’ve never actually got around to doing so. The closest I’ve ever come is photographing the wet pillow and balled-up Kleenex after I’ve cried.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen your self-portrait/double exposure? Or I’m thinking I might’ve seen it (was it taken in the living room?), but it didn’t immediately click as to what it might be.

    June 11, 2007 at 3:33 pm

  6. (CONTINUED FROM THE LAST REPLY, ’cause LJ has a character limit)

    Do your friends take pictures of themselves? I’m just wondering, like when you guys get together, do they take pictures and you just happen to be the one not doing so? (I’m wondering if photography students avoid typical snapshot photography outside of assignments? Do they?) The thing is that snapshot photography — which is pretty much what everyone engages in — is meant for keeps, for memory, so you can remember what a great day you had at the beach with Tom, Dick, Harry and Zagreb. I think people post them on Myspaces and Facebooks for the same reason they tack them up on their walls and show their friends when they come over. For memory, even if it is a matter of trying to remember how to looked when you were fifteen.

    P/S: I sort of figured that the email you sent me was spurred by this post! You know, I’d totally forgotten about that series of pictures. I was sort of just remembering the odd ones, like taken at dinner or something.

    June 11, 2007 at 3:34 pm

  7. Hey, remember when I was in Edmonton, and we used to write really long responses back and forth? That was so long ago!

    June 11, 2007 at 3:41 pm

  8. No, I don’t think it’s at all petty to not allow your friends to take your picture and have it end up on Facebook. I find the pictures that show up on Facebook and Myspace (or what I believe to be the kinds of pictures anyway, ’cause I don’t have an account on either to browse) are trite and typical and serve little purpose other than to show what a great time you (the generic you, not actually you) had at whatever event, or showing how you and all your friends look (or in some cases, to show how — ahem — cool everyone is). This is my assumption anyway.

    It’s quite comforting to know that I’m not the only one who picks at her skin. I have this awful habit of going for what feels like the dry skin on my face. Like you, I know I really shouldn’t, but a lot of it seems to be unconscious (I have an atrocious two-decade old nail-biting habit that’s the same way) and then I end up crossing my fingers and hoping that all I did was skim a little off the top of that it wouldn’t scar. I like the word you used — reflex — ’cause that’s totally what it is!

    I like your idea, of taking photographs of your skin (even though you were repulsed by them). I really think that’s what I ought to have done last year, when I was really, really hating the way I looked. I took pictures of a couple of scars I created, ’cause I wanted to document to myself what I’d done. I thought they’d fade, like the other scars, but this time around, they didn’t and I’m stuck with some fairly prominent scars in a fairly prominent place. I look at them quite often and wish I didn’t do what I did.

    Did you manage to get around to taking the pictures?
    It’s definitely so much easier with a digital camera. I really should figure out what’s going on with mine, so I can start this project.

    June 11, 2007 at 4:12 pm

  9. no, i haven’t taken any photos yet. i’ve decided to pretend that surface sabina doesn’t exist for a while. i woke up early and didn’t put on make-up and suntanned on the patio and hung around the house. i also temporarily disabled my facebook account because i always take those sorts of things too seriously and i obsessively check them many times a day and i write everyone comments and people don’t write comments quickly enough back or at all so i get upset. anyway, i’m just wasting too much time on it and pretending that i am social when that isn’t really being social.

    i think that i’m just bored. and i’m using it as an excuse to pretend that i’m not just wasting away time. but i am. even more so.

    for the sorts of photos other people have on there, not everyone puts up trite and typical photos, no. just a few people. you can still look at albums if you don’t have an account. i’d send you a few examples, but i’ve temporary banned myself, as i’ve mentioned. but i have a lot of people on there that i’ve known since high school and they seem to be vain and superficial and they seem to only put up photos of themselves in a daytime talkshow ‘i used to be a dork, but look at me now’ way and it upsets me.

    i think that i prefered using it as a way of keeping in touch with friends from school when i am in london and vice versa. but i’m mostly using it to talk to people in london when i already am in london and there are better ways to do that.

    as for the photos, i guess i’m mostly discouraged because i think of what i could do with the photos afterwards without wanting to take them just for me. like i have to do something with them, like i couldn’t just hide them away as i have with others. there’s always that, with photography. even if i take photos just for yourself, there’s always this impulsive desire to share them. it’s the same with writing.

    anyway, i think that i will take some today just because i’m sick of talking about it and not doing it and feeling guilty. or putting it off. like with my driving. it makes me nervous so i keep putting it off but my driving test is on thursday and it’ll mostly be a relief of guilt once i do it.

    i’m being so negative and boring and immature lately.

    June 12, 2007 at 4:03 am

  10. i had one of those sleepless nights last night and so i decided to take pictures even though i wanted to wait so that i could take them in sunlight.
    a picture a day. and then i will look at them and see how miserable i look. i can’t choose one from yesterday, though. so it might be more than a picture a day.

    they’re hideous so far, but i think that i love them for that reason.

    June 12, 2007 at 7:13 pm

  11. I think night pictures have an inherent beauty in them, particularly with shadows and such. Unfortunately, I don’t know enough about lighting to be able to create the kinds of pictures I want.
    You’ve reminded me that I should force myself to engage in daily photos, regardless of how I look (I spend a lot of the day at home, during which, I really don’t like the way I look but I think I should at least force myself to confront my own image). It’s so easy to forget or brush it off and say I don’t look good enough to be in front of a camera.

    June 13, 2007 at 3:20 pm

  12. Yes, lots of things on the Internet provide the opportunity for a person to pretend that he/she is social. I’ve definitely been guilty of it. I think people sometimes don’t reply to comments because to them, their behavior online may seem to be less impactful than their real-life behavior. Like, they’re brushing off online interactions as being less important. I’m speculating here, as I wonder why people I know don’t email me when I’m pretty much always the one initiating the emails.

    Every so often, I’m very tempted to join Facebook as a means to keep in touch with old friends (or in some cases, just seeing what they’re up to these days or just seeing their “now” pictures (the daytime talkshow pictures you referenced!) — really, I’d be quite content lurking on there, but I really do think it’ll suck me in). But I’m wary about getting caught up in the phenomena. Similarly, I’m averse to having a Myspace account.

    I think prior to the whole digital picture age, people were much more apt to do things with their pictures. Like placing it in albums or in a frame. It’s something tangible. But with digital images, often, they simply sit on a CD or a hard-drive and they get forgotten. This is the part about the digital phenomena that saddens me the most. I like tangibles and I miss holding real pictures in my hands (I can’t afford to get prints for my pictures, so I just get them processed and placed onto a CD these days). I don’t especially enjoy just scrolling through a folder of pictures, and just knowing that they’re there. It just doesn’t seem to be enough. With the Internet, it’s so easy to share pictures, but I don’t know… I’d feel all “look at me!” and like a camwhore in doing so, even though I’m sure my family would like to see pictures of me.

    Which driving test are you taking tomorrow?
    I think driving tests are absolutely nerve-wracking. I took my G test a few years ago and I had what felt like a perfect test, till nearly ran over a pedestrain and then failed to stop for a schoolbus. But the second time was a charm. You’ll definitely be so glad it’s over when it is. Good luck with the test!

    June 13, 2007 at 3:43 pm

  13. your insight about why people don’t reply to comments online makes so much sense! i think that i believe in that a lot.

    honestly, facebook is a really good idea if you have self-control. if i could take things a little less lightly, i wouldn’t need to take breaks from it every two months. but alas, i can’t help myself and i get obsessive and curious and i start to feel self-conscious and like i should have the same sort of photos up. but i can’t even take the really narcissistic photos. and if i were to try, i couldn’t share them with anyone. maybe this will change. but seriously, it is a good idea. myspace is very different, because it’s so much more public. and the photos aren’t as accessible. myspace was designed to connect small bands with their fans. and also, it’s hideous! facebook has such a nice design and so many different features.

    but the thing is, though, that you wouldn’t even have to post photos of yourself if you didn’t want to. and you can change your security options so that if other people tag photos of you, no one else will be able to see them. and you are right, my sister puts her pictures on there and i’m really happy to see them. but they’re not pictures of her, they’re travel photos.

    i agree about photos not being tangible anymore. it’s upsetting to me as well, but only when i don’t think about the boxes and boxes of proofs that i have stacked up from school. some photos are just not worth it. i got a 100 free print card with my camera and i can’t decide what i should do with it and whether or not i should actually print some of my travel photos. but then i’ll just have to stack them in a box and i’d leave them here for most of the year because i don’t like to pack a lot of things and i already have the digital versions… i was going to print some to give to my younger brother. actually, i think that i will. i’ll make him a little album.

    i’m taking my G tomorrow. i failed it miserably last year. i did so many things wrong because i was really nervous and the driver was intimidating and i didn’t practice the actual road tests. yeah, i definitely didn’t practice enough. we almost got run over by a truck when he asked me to change lanes because it changed lanes at the same time as me to try to pass me. and i was driving too slowly, like maybe 90. and there was construction on the highway and there was construction in the residential area and i went 60 in a residential area and i did a hundred other things wrong. i’ve been practicing a lot with a driving instructor so i hopefully won’t do as awful this time. but i would have one more try if i were to fail this one. still, i am so stressed out and worried that i won’t sleep tonight because i already haven’t been sleeping well. and then i’ll make a lot of stupid mistakes and get yelled at by the person giving me the driving test and then i’ll feel like the world’s worst driver again. AHHH!!!

    June 14, 2007 at 2:29 am

  14. my night photos were pretty awful, actually, because i had my light on and was completely yellow (even though i changed the white balance on the camera) and i took some with flash as well and i had weird yellow blotches everywhere. in some of them, my undereye circles look like bruises.

    i have been taking them before going to bed each night. except that i didn’t last night so i took some in the morning, but it was after i put on foundation, which i usually wear, and it was different. or maybe i’m starting to take myself less seriously. or maybe my behaviour changes when i’m about to leave the house. i’m not sure. i’ll have to experiment some more, but they’re sillier. and i prefer the ones in which i’m not wearing any make-up. maybe it just makes me bolder, taking photos when i don’t wear make-up and i know i look awful.

    but i know what you mean about saying that you don’t look enough to be in front of a camera. when i first started to take self-portraits years ago, i would always put on make-up first – maybe because i was influenced by pretty pictures of pretty girls when i started to do it. but one day, i decided to take photos after my boyfriend and i had a fight and those were the most beautiful out of all the photos. maybe i’m less insecure when i don’t wear make-up because i’m backwards like that. but maybe it’s only like that in front of the camera.

    i kept all of the letters and envelopes i’ve ever received and i fairly recently decided to only keep the relevant ones. but in the process, i found your letter from when you sent me money for my zine from forever ago. that was sweet of you, to buy it. and i’m glad that we still talk to each other and read each other’s journals after all this time.

    June 14, 2007 at 2:39 am

  15. I hate taking pictures under artificial light too. The yellow really bugs me and I pretty much never use the flash. It sounds though, based on what you said about the undereye circles looking like bruises, that some of your shots could turn out to be quite interesting — that is, you unintentionally present yourself in a different light (no pun intended) that one might normally expect you to.

    I hardly ever wear makeup, so the bulk of my pictures are of me sans makeup. It’s when I do have makeup on (usually, just eyeliner), that I seem to take myself more seriously and I’m more apt to like the pictures that come from that instance. I think I happen to look better in pictures with dark eyeliner, for some reason. I’m more secure and I find less fault with my image. It’s totally psychological, perhaps.

    Wow, that’s a crazy long time ago, when I sent you the money for your zine. I think it was the first year I was in Edmonton! I think I barely knew anything about you when I did too, so I don’t think I wrote anything of significance, just a cursory note.

    June 16, 2007 at 12:51 am

  16. I think it takes at least a slightly narcissistic person to take narcissistic photographs. I also think you have to be in the right mood or mindframe to do so too. Or at least, to attempt to take such pictures. It seems like there’re hoardes of teenaged/twenty-something year old girls out there like that. Or really, there aren’t, and the only examples of Myspace or Facebook-esque photos I can think of are of girls whoring themselves out to a camera. I don’t think I’ve ever tried taking such pictures. When I used to do self-portraits right when I first got my digital camera, the resulting image seemed to say “well, I’m bored or experimenting, and I think I look okay, so I’ll take a picture”. In other words, I don’t think they really say much, if anything, about the kind of person I am.

    You’re making me awfully tempted to sign up for Facebook (I get these urges every so often). I was just on Friendster yesterday, lurking. And I came across all these people I knew from elementary school (!!) and it made me want to email them all, even though I haven’t seen them in almost twenty years.

    That’s sweet, making your little brother an album! I’m sure he’ll love it (I’m imagine anyone would!). I think digital images have made people so lazy, and the kinds of pictures taken are devalued, because they’re not looked at as often as they would’ve been if they’d been taken on film, and they’re chucked away on a computer or CD and forgotten. I keep wishing for film to make a superb comeback but I’m not holding my breath.

    How did your driving test go?

    June 16, 2007 at 1:00 am

  17. that night, actually, i took a photo that i really liked even though the lighting made my face orange and i was going to put it on here but i haven’t uploaded my photos from my camera since i’ve started this mini project.

    that’s why i think that they’re interesting. because they’re not really flattering. and i don’t really think that they look like me, but i don’t really think that the nice photos look like me either. there is one in which i am smiling and i’ve never seen that smile before, so it must be the smile that i only make for other people and never for myself. looking at that photo makes me really happy.

    i almost always wear foundation. and part of the reason why i pick so much is because it’s so much easier to cover up something that is smooth than something that isn’t. ugh! i hate that i think this way. but it’s true. the only thing that really matters to me is how smooth my skin is because i hardly ever see it.

    maybe the reason why you like the photos in which you wear eyeliner most is because they make your eyes stand out and i don’t think that anyone really realized how small their eyes (or anyone else’s eyes) are in perspective. i know that when i look in the mirror, i look at the eyes and they not only seem bigger because they’re the only thing in focus, but also because i tilt my face and so my eyes are closer to the mirror and they seem bigger.

    anyway, i think that most people love their eyes most. i actually like a lot of my features, but i don’t particularly like the way in which they’re placed, necessarily. but that’s mostly because it doesn’t fit my ideal of what beautiful is. when i was in vietnam, everyone told me that i was really beautiful and i figured it is because i’m a little bit chubby (well, fairly normal for canada, but i would seem that way to them). but my sister’s boyfriend said that it’s because my features are close together so i look a little like a doll. you know, round face with features squished in the middle. like they would ask me if my sister was my sister and then they would tell me that i’m the beautiful sister. which i don’t think is true. i think that my sister is much better looking than me. so i even wonder if maybe they were saying that as a pity thing, you know? anyway, it didn’t matter to me much. i always disregard compliments about the way that i look whether or not they are good.

    i’ve never really thought that about my face or noticed that my features were so close together before. i wonder if it’s just the weight i gained from my first year that i haven’t lost yet or if my face has always been this way.

    that’s what’s interesting about my gaining weight. i wouldn’t mind it so much if it didn’t show on my face. but my face is already round, so i have chubbier cheeks and a double chin. but anyway, i don’t see that often. i only see that in some photos that other people take of me. so i am probably disillusioned and still thinking that i am thinner than i actually am.

    which is okay, i think. because i often don’t think about it for that reason.

    and yup, it was just a cursory note. but i was just really flattered that you bought it, that’s all.

    June 16, 2007 at 6:53 am

  18. yeah, i don’t discourage you from joining facebook. i think that you’d be surprised at how different it will be from what you expect it to be.

    i already have three livejournal friends as facebook friends. it’s strange. i don’t necessarily recommend that, though. but for people that you used to be good friends with at one time but that you’ve lost touch with? those people are nice to have.

    and i can’t send you links to other people’s photos to show you what i mean. i can only send links to my own photos.

    as for film, i don’t know. but what i do know is that when i was shooting one of my projects, i used a digital camera to test what it would look like and was really disappointed and started to feel really insecure because they looked awful. but they were so beautiful on film! the truth is, film is so much better. so, so much better. but there are ways in which digital is more convenient. i think that film will continue to be used mostly by a portion of fine artists. but it’s the same as with black and white film, you know? i think that it’s beautiful, but i’d be unlikely to shoot it again once i finished school unless i had facilities readily available. speaking of which, i’m going to take a large format class next semester. i’m excited to be in the black and white darkroom again.

    i passed my driving test, yup! i got the guy that failed me the first time, too. and he took me on the harder road test again and there was more traffic than i’m used to. but i passed and you are right, i’m so glad that it’s all over and i won’t have to worry about it again until i’m old!

    June 16, 2007 at 7:19 am

  19. i agree with the perspective taken on in your paper. it is ironic how photography is the surest way to capture reality, but remain an inveterate slave to conceit.

    you write alot of sense, by the way.

    June 17, 2007 at 6:27 am

  20. Thank you. I’m Dawn, by the way. I added you a while ago but haven’t had the chance to leave you a comment yet.

    The thing is that it’s really a question of whose reality in being captured. From its beginnings, I think people have figured out that they would use this perception that a photographic image accurately mirrors reality, to fit their own social and political agendas.

    June 19, 2007 at 2:48 am

  21. Yeah, so with all the discussion about Facebook and the fact that my sister upped and joined it, I ended up succumbing and joining it myself. Albeit, at the worst possible time — a few days before the midterm I wrote last night. I say this because of its highly addictive nature that I was warned about and because I ended up spending more time on there than I should’ve been. There haven’t been any surprises yet. It still seems like a typical social networking type of site. I have to put some holds on myself though, to keep from getting sucked in. I don’t want Facebook to end up taking over my life!

    already have three livejournal friends as facebook friends. it’s strange. i don’t necessarily recommend that, though.
    Why do you call it strange? I’m just curious. I find I compartmentalize parts of my life. My youngest sister ended up getting a Facebook account (she’s not even eleven yet!) and asking to add me and I felt really awkward about it, because for me, I’m using Facebook to connect with people from high school and university. And to have my little sister on there is just… odd.

    I’ve never used a large format camera and my only experience with it has been through my sister, but it does seem like fun! I keep telling myself that one day, I’ll actually acquire the technical specificities of photography (I’ve never ever processed my own film, I’m embarassed to say). One day, I’ll actually take a photography class when I feel less intimidated.

    Congratulations on passing your test! They note if you’ve ever taken the test before, so that the subsequent times, the routes tend to be harder or different. They’ve clearly thought this through! I find testing centers seem to be near high-traffic areas. Well, I say this from the two that I’ve been to. I bet they planned that too.

    June 26, 2007 at 4:26 pm

  22. yes, i waste too much time and am too obsessed with it again. but at least i can only check it at night now since i’m out for most of the day. :)

    why wouldn’t i recommend it? i don’t know, maybe i feel as though i know too much about them now. don’t you think that it would be strange for you to read the messages on my wall and to see my snapshots and to see my friends after all of the things that we’ve discussed? or would it be more interesting? probably, it’s both.

    but it’s just different when you know someone through only their writing and then you find out about their social life and the way in which they look in snapshots and how they pose and what they do.

    i think that it would be strange to have parents on there. not necessarily younger siblings. i have my sister on mine and i’m sure that you have yours, but maybe you feel as though she would be spying on you, in a way? or that she would know too much about more adult things? i don’t know. i don’t feel at all uncomfortable about my sister on there, but i don’t have a younger sister so i can’t relate. but i think that i understand what you mean. it’s strange when people you don’t expect add you.

    you should take a photo class and you shouldn’t be intimidated because you take a lot of really beautiful photos. and wouldn’t it be nice to know the technicalities? but couldn’t you also learn them in your manual? i think that school is more for developing the concepts behind your photos. maybe it’s just my school. but we never got a really thorough technical background. so i wouldn’t recommend concordia. but i’ve heard good things about ryerson! :)

    the route was actually the same the second time as well. there are two tests, one where they take you to lambeth and one in london. the one to lambeth is nice because there is very little traffic. the one in london is awful because you have to change from the 401 to the 402 (or the opposite) and there is a lot of traffic because it’s in a commercial area. i got the same instructor on the same route asking the same things. i don’t think that he remembered me. i took driving lessons before, though, and he took me on both courses many times so that i would know exactly what to expect. the guy i had was really strict and marked me for a lot of things that don’t matter, like not steering to get off the highway at the exact spot that the lane started, but a tiny bit later. and it’s so funny because all of my other friends that took the driving test took the lambeth one. i’m the only one that got stuck with the strict guy. i’m so lucky in that way.

    June 27, 2007 at 8:03 am

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