The Self Portrait • a demonstration of self-acceptance

the self portrait • a demonstration of self acceptance
If you were to scour my blog, you would be hard-pressed to find many photos of me. Aside from the odd posed picture, I am shy about having my photo taken. I suspect it has something to do with being a photographer and preferring to be behind the camera, but more than that, I admit I often find photos of myself less than flattering.

I’ve been thinking about how photography can both tap into my creative side, as well as be a vehicle for healing. The issues I struggle with centre around my body image — I don’t feel skinny enough, pretty enough or young enough to call myself beautiful.

What if taking a self-portrait helped me accept who I am and what I look like?

The idea seemed feasible.

Totally feasible but completely scary.

So I took a deep breath and grabbed my camera. I set up my tripod and programmed the timer for a 10 second delay.

Here is what I got. It’s been processed a little to evoke a sense of dreaminess but my wrinkles, freckles, and blotches remain. No makeup and messy hair.

self portrait Oct 20

This image of me is not bad (and I promise I’m not fishing for compliments). Maybe this could be Day 1 in a series of photographs documenting my fiftieth year? I’m not so good at long-term projects so I won’t promise anything, but it’s an interesting idea…

What about you? Are you good at avoiding the camera? Have you ever embarked on a ‘selfie’ project?


About KatieP

Embracing my midlife sexy while exploring modern love & relationships • Devoted to all things beautiful • Master of Arts in creative writing & non-fiction writing

20 thoughts on “The Self Portrait • a demonstration of self-acceptance

  1. Ahh Katie..
    How could you possibly NOT realise that you ARE beautiful?
    What a crazy concept.. you not beautiful!

    Anyway…what is beauty?
    The thin layer of cells covering & protecting the body that allows a generous heart to beat and a mind to shoot of wonderful streams of words.. and sometimes a heart rending portrayal of the insecurities that we all have.. Albeit some of us have more insecurities than others (not always with good cause)

    That is apart from the good features, bones structure etcetera… (which you have)
    I think one of the most beautiful of women is Merryl Streep and her features certainly aren’t perfect.. How boring is perfection..
    A surface meant for adorning with a collection of lotions and paints depending on the fashion and flavour of the day..

    Yet without adornment your photo displays a face that most would be happy with.. There is an inner glow and an essence in a woman’s true beauty and yours shines through your eyes.

    I too have shied away from the camera all my life also preferring to be on the other end of the lens. Never happy with any snaps of myself because they never portrayed what is within. I knew that was gold..
    “She always scrubs up well..” was a comment most heard by me.. ha ha..

    It would be a fascinating project for you to undertake as would a monthly shot for a decade.. This is a wonderful decade for you to enjoy..
    The next is even better .. full of so many answers..
    Enjoy it all… even the bad hair days…
    Ciao Bella xx

  2. I detest having my photo taken. I rarely like any that are taken either by me or anyone else. Mine is also because of being overweight. I don’t think I’m particularly ugly or hugely overweight but I’d much rather photo & display pictures of my calves!

  3. This is a great post. I too post pictures of myself rarely, and almost always its a group photo. Still grappling with that. A selfie project sounds like a great idea.

  4. This is a lovely picture…and I get exactly what you are saying. I am not a fan of my own image and there have literally been a handful of pictures I’ve seen of myself throughout my entire life that DON’T make me cringe.

    1. Maybe we should have a support group for women who don’t like seeing themselves on film (or whatever the digital equivalent is). We all need an intervention!

  5. I know you’re not fishing for a compliment, so I’m not giving you one for that reason. I’m giving you one because not only do you look beautiful, you look brave, despite the fact that you were uncomfortable taking that photo. Learn to see yourself through the lens with which you view the rest of the beauty you share in your non-Katie photos…then perhaps you’ll see what we do.

    1. Thank you Kelly. I love the idea of seeing myself through the same lens as I view the rest of the world. Your comment has shifted something inside me…

  6. I often feel that I’d rather people wield swords at me than cameras. There’s something to be said of that old wive’s tale that Native Americans considered having their picture taken akin to someone trying to steal their soul. I want to curate the photos of me that are out in the world. I want the best me to be out there. Accepting all the different lights and angles that accost my face and body aren’t easy. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I understand and applaud your desire to explore. xo S

    1. Thanks Shannon – I applaud and am inspired by your own body image project. I’m looking forward to seeing where my particular personal project might lead.

  7. While I don’t agree with you I can’t necessarily argue with you. Pictures of myself make me physically sick. It is something that I am working on. I’ve been everywhere but have no photos to prove it. I am always the one taking the pictures it’s hard to change that.

  8. When I was a kid, I liked how I looked in photos. But middle and high school taught me to hate how I looked. I was still the same good-looking kid. But there was something wrong with me if I liked my pictures. Many years and pounds and a double chin later, I’m having to work harder to appreciate how good I look, but I do have a couple headshots that I love, and as my husband once pointed out, I have a twinkle that photographs.

    1. The “twinkle” is what makes the difference, I think. It’s a shame that we’re conditioned not to be vain. What’s the harm in liking who you are?

      1. Being actually vain and/or narcissistic. That being said, folks who are genuinely vain/narcissistic are generally pretty insecure, which is way different than being content with who you are and comfortable in your own skin.

        1. I agree ~ vain feels like an overcompensation for a lack of confidence. There always seems to be a need for other people’s approval. If we truly like ourselves, we understand that we won’t be everyone’s cup of tea ♥

  9. I’m also a photographer so I also hide behind the camera. I don’t really like having my picture taken. I was recently diagnosed with CPTSD so self acceptance is HUGE for me. I really need to work in that area but it’s really hard.

Comments are closed.