SH: I suppose at some point all artists turn their respective media on themselves, some more intensly than others, but I'm here, and I've had a variable version of self image as time has travelled on and I've weighed it against the constant bombardment of projected image in the people I see on a daily basis at work. Maybe I'm not breaking new ground in terms of art, but I'm breaking ground for myself, which is where it matters.
You know, I have this tendency to diminish the things I do, which is why that sentence is italicized. I typed it as a natural part of my thought process, then deleted it, then put it back to open that door of discussion as a part of the self. It's like this self-abasing side of me that feels everything I do really amounts to nothing because it has already been done by someone else at some point in time. I have yet to figure out why that part of me exists, nor have I come to terms with it.
So when you talk about more explicit pictures of the self, the definition of explicit becomes just as mutable as someone's reaction to a picture of a flower. Is it a tulip? or is it a vagina? I generally feel comfortable with myself, but at times, in images I take, I don't feel so comfortable, more embarrased. It's a sliding scale. That image of me on the commode, I really like that one, and not just in body image, but in the whole of the self. I have a problem with body weight, and I constantly fight my lack of self control when it comes to food, not that I'm some gluttonous slob, but I like good food, and my body type tends towards the heavy side. I carry more of my mother's genes when it comes to physicality and it shows.
RK: I wish I could take pictures like yours. I always set out to get a real photo of me, cellulite, rolls of fat etc, but I chicken out. It's not only that I don't show them in public, I delete them because I don't want to see them myself. There are photographers of self-portraits who show all and they always fill me with respect. Especially Jo Spence, who photographed herself before and after finding out she had breast cancer.
Her photos totally spit in the eye of society's idea of what is acceptable. And when I look at them I do cringe. I have always had a fear of losing a breast because I think it would make me feel like I was no longer a woman, which goes to show that it's all about the exterior. I look like a woman therefore I am a woman.
E tells me I need to lose weight. When a friend tells me I have a natural woman's body, without the excess of dieting etc, it makes such a difference to my emotional well-being, to have someone say they like the way I look. Because I am NOT skinny any more and I do have big thighs etc. And it does bug me a lot that my happiness about body image comes from someone else saying I am 'acceptible'.
SH: Yesterday, I was thinking and I put down my thoughts on the subject vs object topic you mentioned on xanga and as I was writing that, it devolved into this discussion of self/body image. In my experience, when I put the camera to my eye, and even before that, all things become subject. For me it becomes subject because of the way I relate to the subject, and because of what I attempt to convey through an image of a particular subject.
The thing is, when I'm out, and when I'm carrying my camera, everything is subject. Even when I don't have my camera, I see the world and I'm constantly processing how I relate to a particular subject and how I might convey that through my camera.
Yet when we introduce the viewer, things change, at least in my opinion. The defining class of subject versus object evolves entirely in the reaction and relationship the viewer has, and the context within which the viewer absorbs the art. Then, when you speak of the existence of our relationship as friends, or any existing relationship between an artist and that artist's audience the dynamic expands and the relationship to the image changes.
Consider the relationship you had to the two photos I sent you. I imagine you absorbed them, and based on your aesthetic cues, decided first if you liked or didn't like them. Then, based on the fact that you know me, and that we have a relationship as friends, your relationship to the photo evolved to include that, and the context of the email they were attached to.
other times it is simply fear. Someone once asked if I was hiding by showing semi-explicit pictures. I thought he had a point.
exposed photos of yourself elicit a much deeper response than a photo of a nameless woman prepped and plucked in just such a way to achieve maximum whatever. While those women don't take on Object status, in my opinion or reaction, they remain nebulous and the relationship to the image remains fleeting and mostly meaningless since there is nothing to cement a relationship, unless it is a particularly effective photo in which case the relationship evolves. My reaction to your photos is deeper because of our friendship, and because of my knowledge of your own image conflict, and even because of the titillation.
Spyros and I have been in discussion for the last few months about art, photography, and the artist as subject. Here is an excerpt...
click on ALL pics to see full size
So - I know this is not supposed to be about the psychology of body image, but I guess what I wanted to start off saying is that when I do self-portraits, they stem from a dislike of what I see in the mirror. So I guess that means it's about me rather than an audience. And I think all self-portraiture must be about the artist first... A lot of my portraiture is abstract. I like vague parts of flesh, hints, anomalies, ambiguities. I always have to hide. Sometimes that is a genuine pose,
I may be completely wrong in this assumption of how you processed those photos, but that summation is based on my personal relationships to art, and my reaction specifically to images you've posted of yourself. As you've mentioned, you can see nipple, ass, or vagina just about anywhere you want. There is no short supply of exposed bodies in our society, or in the evolution of our society, but you know that. The difference is in the alteration of my relationship to a photo of you, such as the photos you've posted on xanga, and the fact that we are friends, and whatever context is given with said photo. The semi-