Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Camera Reflections of a Wal-Mart Mom

Self awareness is a matter of individual moments. One moment I feel decent, the next I feel like Shrek. This photo is a self portrait. Is it reality? It depends.

You see, my self image is poor. It is hard for me to take compliments. I don't feel the mirror reflection is a beautiful image. I never have. I admit that. I've felt it since the age of 5. My sense of self awareness began there. I remember not feeling as pretty as the other girls in my kindergarten class.

I am not very photogenic so I decided to practice. My inspiration comes from the photography legend Cindy Sherman. I learned about Cindy Sherman in an undergraduate Photography class. I found self fulfillment in striving to get my Bachelors Degree which helped provide a distraction to my internal battle. While seeing myself as dime a dozen "Wal-Mart Mom," I found myself inspired to conquer my fear by mimicking Cindy Sherman's idea of self portraits.

What was my fear? I was afraid of people merely looking at me. Coupled with poor eye contact, my worries of what people thought when they saw me haunted me. It still does. During my high school years I wore baggy clothes to blend in and fade out. Attention made me uncomfortable. Why? Because I saw myself as ugly. I said "saw" as though it's in the past. It is not fully behind me.

Self image is so fragile. So be cautious of your words. One negative comment can shatter a person's self image into so many tiny pieces that it's impossible to completely repair it. I still struggle from comments of the past. Women tend to carry those deep. Men do too.

Although I have a love for photography, the camera was also my fear because it confronted me with a raw self image. I've racked up a fair share of bad pictures throughout the years. I've left a trail of horrible school photos. Now, I fiercely try to avoid cameras possibly being pointed at me. Sometimes I can't but if I can I will! I figured I got beat with the ugly stick and there was no help in site.

The age of enlightenment came when I saw Cindy Sherman's photography. She used her self as a subject. I thought, what a fun concept! She offered a view of self image in a different perspective. It was creative and inspiring. So I decided to do what I would have never thought I would do, a Cindy Sherman inspired self portrait. The photo above is me. It's me playing dress up. It was fun. It was partially freeing. It was theraputic.

Will I ever have a healthy self image? Maybe. I'm surely working on it...
_0306257E-72, originally uploaded by tscullen.

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