Posts Tagged ‘Photography’

The Day I Taught My Mom How To Take A Selfie (2006)

The Day I Taught My Mom How To Take A Selfie (2006)

I am proudly, unabashedly, fond of selfies. Even before the advent of the camera phone and the digital camera, I was taking pictures of myself on film — the anticipation of what would come back from the lab always excited me. It’s amazing to me that we can so easily create images of ourselves, and the fact that our ability to do this is, historically speaking, Kind Of A Big Deal, is never far from my mind.


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I’ve never liked having my photograph taken. After experiencing  several years of bullying that involved ugly candid photos of me being publicly laughed at, I started hiding from cameras. From the ages of about 11 to 18, there are very few photos of me. I appear in the occasional family holiday or homecoming dance photo, but if I were to cease to exist, there would be very little evidence of my life. All of the photos are carefully posed; I’m dressed to impress. They say nothing about who I am or what I am doing. (more…)

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I love the internet, of course. It lets me access a whole wealth of content, my favorite being photographs. I’m very interested to see what everyone else is seeing through their perspective. I look at a lot of photo blogs, flickr accounts, so on, to get to see peoples photos. However, I am often disappointed and a bit confused. When I look at photographic work done by my generation, most of it looks the same. Most of what I see is white people,specifically ‘pretty,’ thin girls, doing whimsical things like running through a field or laughing while their hair blows in the wind or something. If you have a Tumblr I know you know what I’m talking about. Let me find an example…

I don’t want to discount anyones photographs. I’m not saying these photos are bad or should not be taken. This isn’t an issue of quality or validity of work. Its an issue of representation in youth photography. Where are the fat photographers/ photo subjects? The photographers of color? Trans photographers? I could even venture to ask where the financially lower class photographers are, as the people in these photos often appear to be well off (taken with high quality equipment, or color film which is pricey, but this is an assumption). I would love so much to see the perspectives of a broader range of people. I’m wondering, is it there and just hiding in an unfound corner of the internet, or are the only people my age using photography as an outlet white skinny people? Of course there are layers of nuances here relating to socioeconomic issues, the narrative visual media maintains, and so on. But I hope that a wider demographic of people will being to be represented in photography.

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When you take a lot of photos of other people its important to have your own picture taken regularly as well.Not in order to even things out or something, but so you can observes your feelings on the matter. As someone who uses photography as a diary, an outlet to making sense of things, and a profession, I take a lot of pictures. The subjects of those pictures are always people, mostly friends or family, but sometimes strangers. I’m so thankful these people allow me to photograph them incessantly, through private moments, through unflattering faces, probably through not feeling like having their photo taken. I’m so thankful for them, in part,because I’m a bit of a hypocrite. Or sometimes I feel like one. I hate having my picture taken. It pains me. Maybe it pains me a little bit more then the ‘average’ person who doesn’t like getting their picture taken because I spend so much time thinking about the intricacies of the power of photography. It reveals too much for comfort. Photographs turns your body into an expression rather than a familiar possession. The subtext of a moment can be amplified in the bend of an arm or the tilt of a head. Even if you try to calculate a picture and how you’ll be perceived in it, sometimes, in a good photograph, something will slip through. The power of photography amplifies the power that our bodies have to express themselves. It’s a nearly unhinging experience to see yourself reflected in a single still moment, just your body existing in the physical world. If you look too long, that is. Which I do. Which is important to me. I encourage everyone, particularly people who don’t like to have their picture taken, to think critically about why and experiment with it.

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Photo by Marie C.

Recently while I was perusing my Tumblr I came across this post. At first I was just going to scroll past, but then I decided to actually stop and look at it.


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I’ve been aware of The Adipositivity Project for a number of years.  Most people who float around Fat Acceptance circles online are aware of it, but when I’ve shown it to friends who aren’t aware of FA, it’s always surprised them.  I thought, given the reading for our next class, this was at least visually on topic.  I’m also always a fan of activism through art and you can’t say Substantia Jones’ photographs aren’t beautiful or radical.   Many of the photographs are nudes, so beware if you decide to click through.  I’ve pulled some of the more modest ones to show the intent of the images.

Adipose: Of or relating to fat.

Positivity: Characterized by or displaying acceptance or affirmation.

 The Adipositivity Project aims to promote size acceptance, not by listing the merits of big people, or detailing examples of excellence (these things are easily seen all around us), but rather, through a visual display of fat physicality. The sort that’s normally unseen.

The hope is to widen definitions of physical beauty. Literally.

The photographs here are close details of the fat female form, without the inclusion of faces. One reason for this is to coax observers into imagining they’re looking at the fat women in their own lives, ideally then accepting them as having aesthetic appeal which, for better or worse, often translates into more complete forms of acceptance.

The women you see in these images are educators, executives, mothers, musicians, professionals, performers, artists, activists, clerks, and writers. They are perhaps even the women you’ve clucked at on the subway, rolled your eyes at in the market, or joked about with your friends.

This is what they look like with their clothes off.

Some are showing you their bodies proudly. Others timidly. And some quite reluctantly. But they all share a determination in altering commonly accepted notions of a narrow and specific beauty ideal.

I love this project, especially considering the attempts by the media to include “real” bodies through the use of marketing like the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty and “plus size” (really a size 6-12) models, and how different these fat people look from those culturally approved fat bodies.  These aren’t the media portrayed idea of what is “real” (and how problematic is that word in regards to any person?).  These (mostly) women, according to the BMI (another problematic method of judgment!), are obese, or more likely morbidly obese (sometimes called Death Fat in the FA community).  Most of them probably weigh somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 or 300 or even 400 pounds – yet I don’t think they look like the stereotypical bed-ridden mordibly obese person most non-fats think of when they hear those numbers. Or maybe they do look like those ZOMG FAT people to you.

However you see them, these people are fat, but they have accepted the bodies they have and are living their lives in them.

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