proof of life

We see beauty all around us and honor it every day through our lens.  Why then do we find it difficult to turn that lens on our selves?  We are worthy of that same celebration.  We ARE beautiful.  This year I decided to challenge my self image and step out from behind my camera and take a few shots of me.  52 to be exact.  It has not been easy.  I feel awkward and strange, and down right uncomfortable.  I really find I struggle with full shots of myself, so instead i tend focus on pieces; my lashes, a single eye, a grin.  Every once in a while magic happens. I capture a piece of me that makes my spirit smile, fills me with a bit of confidence, and keeps me on this journey of self.  Each frame supplying me an opportunity for inspection and self acceptance, self love.  I have wrinkles, oh yes and gray hairs, proof I have lived 37 years on this earth.  Various lines from smiling, and laughing, and of course crying.  Dimples that grace my baby pictures, still evident today.  My father’s crow’s feet, now my own.  Scars from wounds long healed.  Freckles from beloved summers spent in the sun.  One lone chicken pock mark on my face from that year I turned 12 and got so sick with them on my birthday.  “Perfectly imperfect” I like to say.  Lived in.  Real.  True.  Just me, in all my flawed glory.  The body my mother once carried in her own; the face my children smile freely at each morning; the lips my husband kisses; that same face that looks back at me each morning in the mirror as I brush my teeth, bedhead and all. Perfectly imperfect.  

So today, turn your camera on yourself.  Show us proof of your life.  You are safe here, flaws and all.  Embrace the beauty that is you.  It is scary, I know how you feel.  Trust me.  You can do it.  Perhaps start small and pick a little piece of you.  Go ahead!  Who knows, you may just be surprised by what you see. Inspired even.     

Because guess what?  You ARE beautiful.

Comments

  1. says

    Ok so my following comments maybe dismissed as I am after all only a "man" ;-} but it is whole heartly meant. I’m 43 and don’t have any problem being beginning or in front of the camera and nobody should. What makes a good picture, a smile and sparkle in the eyes. What makes someone beautiful, the same, a smile and sparkle in the eyes. Everyone is beautiful and its true that beautiful starts within.

    I love the photograph, tones and composition, very powerful image.

    Si x

  2. laurie (simplymelg) says

    this shot caught my attention and made me smile too…
    thanx for sharing who you are in words and in images and thanx for the ‘invite’ do do the same…

  3. says

    Thanks you for this post, and your lovely photo. I really connect with this topic. When I turned 50 I decided that the best gift I could give myself (and my children) was to stop resisting having my picture taken and just embrace it. I figured I’d rather have 100 pictures of myself looking silly and goofy than 5 or 10 looking uncomfortable and stiff. At 51 I got my own camera and started to take self portraits. It’s hard, but I’m beginning to really love it, and to see myself in a whole new light.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucyloomis/4084695618/

  4. mharper says

    your words are so beautiful, i’m tearing up! I love this…."The body my mother once carried in her own; the face my children smile freely at each morning; the lips my husband kisses; that same face that looks back at me each morning in the mirror as I brush my teeth, bedhead and all. Perfectly imperfect." you move me, dear Kristin. you are beautiful inside and out.
    ♥cinco_mom

  5. says

    I thought I would hate taking my self portraits, when I first started.

    Know what?

    I LOVE IT.

    I expected to dislike the end result.

    Instead, it boosted my self confidence to new levels.

    That is a good thing : )

  6. says

    I started the 365 self-portrait challenge on Flickr for this very reason … to get myself in front of the camera. 78 days into it, I still feel awkward and unsettled in front of the camera sometimes. It is the rare photo that has me saying, YES!! This is beautiful. I’ve got uneven skin, bags under my eyes, and I look every bit as tired as I feel. But this is pushing the bounds of my creativity and has me saying, yes today I see myself, today this is expressive of who I am.

    Today’s offering:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/kirstenmichelle/4173789637/

  7. says

    What an AMAZING post. We all strive to point out the interest and beauty and unique features and moments in the world around us. We deserve the same effort and consideration. I love it.

  8. Jill says

    Love this post and photo! You’ve inspired me. I’ve been doing a Project 365 since May (just general photos, not self portraits) but thinking I may now add the challenge of including a self-portrait per week. I have endless photos of my husband, parents, friends, nieces, nephews, etc. but very few (or at least very few that I like) of myself.

  9. Johanna says

    With all those freckles and a smile, you remind me of the way I saw my mom when I was a child. She’s a beautiful woman and so are you. Thanks for encouraging me to think that I am too.

  10. says

    your words are so moving and so inspirational to me and i’m tearing up and i’m now a mess at work! haha! oh kristin,….it is YOU that is beautiful! xoxoxox

  11. says

    I think this is part of why I started my 365. As I sorted and shuffled through the photos that I had taken over the past few years I realized I was missing in many of them. After having my first baby, my world has changed and opened and my body was not my own as I carried my little boy in my womb and then nursed him until his 13th month. I needed to see who I was again and the challenge of 365 slef portraits is opening my eyes to the person I am. I am creative, I am silly (who knew?) and I am beautiful.

    Thank you for this post today! If you are interested here is a link to my 365 set on flickr. enjoy.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/glitch_nitch/sets/72157622463012283/

  12. Tina says

    wow, you are truly an inspiration. Makes me want to start doing more self portraits…it IS really difficult to turn that camera around.

    I was trying to find one to link…but i don’t have any.
    hmm…I guess there’s no better time to start than now. ;) Thanks for the encouragement.

  13. says

    thanks for sharing that. you speak to my heart.

    i’ve struggled with the same thing. for years. first attemtp: a 365 on flickr a couple of years ago. lasted less than 2 months. tried 52 weeks. stopped after two or three posts. did the stop-and-start dance for a bit. then threw in the towel completely.

    everytime i witness yet another brave soul begin and end one, i feel a tug in my heart. no, not for vanity anymore. not even to get brownie points with the peers because it’s the in thing to do. (it’s gotten old now.) i want to do it for the same reasons you wrote above – to see me and excavate and accept whatever bubbles up. the consistency of having the ‘project’ assures the acceptance and commitment part of the deal.

    but it does take guts to look at oneself. consistently and gently every time. that much i discovered along the way. who knows. maybe 2010 will be mine. grays and warts and bumps, pocks and all!

  14. says

    I started taking photographs of myself doing dance solos when I was a dance student. To see myself from a different viewpoint than I do in the mirror has helped me come to terms with who I am more. I find it kinda hard to explain, but seeing yourself in a picture is letting you to get to know yourself on a different level. We’re all physically inclined when it comes to others, but we all live in our own shell and it’s good to see our shells from the outside once in a while. It is letting us know that we’re as much a person as the next one, and that the whole world isn’t just inside of your own head or body.
    Here are some of my shots;
    http://www.martinepetra.com/reflexivepronouns.html
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/martinepetra/sets/72157594324226473/

    Martine Petra

  15. PJ Taylor says

    There are hundreds of pics of my husband and two dogs all over the house and on Flickr and none of me because I hate how I look in photos, I hate seeing that that’s what I look like to others. I’ve grown to love my inner self but I still loathe my outer self and that’s really sad. So thank you for this post and I hope I can let myself be really seen, perhaps through a 52 week SP project in the coming year.

    Anyway, here’s a shot of me that my husband took and because I’m mostly covered I can handle it: http://www.flickr.com/photos/martintaylor/4073960533/

    Thank you again for giving us permission to love our lived in selves.

  16. says

    such a beautifully written post. kristen you are a writer !
    I am a complete mush pile when I see "freckles"
    turning the lens on me at 43 has become a real challenge… thanks for the inspiration I just might try again!

  17. says

    XO all you beautiful women out there today! you touch me with al your kind comments you really do. i knew so many of us out here could relate to not feeling self accepting of our own images when we celebrate all images every single day. i am so proud of all of you who took the leap today and turned those cameras inward. you all inspire me to keep going, holding my head high as should all of you!!!!!

    much love and gratitude!
    Kristin (maine momma)

    XO

  18. says

    Age and appearance is not what really matters. it is the attitude and the outlook in life. And of course, simplicity is still the best. One must not be afraid of getting older. It is a sign that you reached at that age happy and fulfilled.

  19. says

    You have linked one of my pics here and that is an honour, you have express what I wanted to say with my photo,I am beautiful, you are beautiful,no perfect but beautiful.

  20. says

    Kristin, I ask myself this question all of the time. Until I started my self portrait project (which I have skipped several weeks of), I didn’t realize just how much I hated taking pictures of myself. It’s been an interesting journey. And like you, taking pictures of pieces of me has helped me appreciate part of myself. Thanks for starting your 52 week project and inspiring so many of us. I think all of your SPs are amazing, so unique and just stunning!!
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/papillonsky/sets/72157613170559543/

  21. says

    oh wow, sorry to have missed this yesterday. such beautiful words kristin. i can so relate to them, as well as the many comments left here. i’m always hiding behind things, lots of props, or just snippets, hoping no one will ever be able to put all the pieces together. oh such silliness as i hear myself pronounce these words. definitely something to work through in the coming months. thank you for the inspiration.xo

  22. says

    oh gosh, kristin…i love this photo. just perfect in every way. your words are so beautiful here and make me want to come out of hiding once more. i participated in self portrait challenge at flickr for a year, but then i found myself slipping backwards and into that place of hiding once more, feeling very uncomfortable with showing myself again. i know i still need work in this area and your post today makes me want to try again. thank you for such encouraging words.

  23. says

    i keep coming back and reading the new comments. thank you all i am so very blessed to be here and so pleased this resonated with so many of you that you took the time to comment and even try a self portrait as well. XO!

  24. MARK E. TAYLOR says

    The only person I trust 100% to photograph "me", is me.
    I was drawn to your photograph instantly, it’s something in the style
    that I love.

    markx
    bitterapplephotography.blogspot.com

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