This past week was my birthday week and a serendipitous exploration of beauty, acceptance, clarity and expression. Early in the week, my friend posted the trailer for Vivian Maier's upcoming documentary. Vivian Maier (for those who don't know) was an amazing street photographer who never got recognized for her talent until after her death. In her body of work she used herself often as the subject, photographing herself in mirrors and other reflective surfaces. The reminder of her work inspired me to explore self-as-subject photography, an appropriate focus for this birthday week.
A few years back I turned 40 and didn't take it well. I longed to be forever 35. I loved my 30s. I realized this week, as I turned 45, that I had been in a bit of a funk about aging for quite some time. I just want time to stop. My body's not what it used to be. I'm noticing more wrinkles. And, if it weren't for the blessing of hair color, I would probably be almost entirely gray. But after a week of photographing myself, I was able to embrace the beauty along with the flaws. I saw myself with more clarity and gentleness. Looking back at the images I made, I feel more beautiful than I have in a long time. And I learned a lot about my craft.
What a blessing it was to spend the week studying myself on the outside and changing how I felt on the inside.
And so I leave you with the wise words of Emerson:
Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson