Lessons from Self Portraits

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When 2011 started, I decided to take on a Project 365 of my own. I would document the year with two photo reels.  One was a simple “general photo a day” reel.  And the other, a self portrait a day. I wish I could say that I had grand plans and ideas of what these projects would produce; but, sometimes, I decide to do something just to do it.  I figure out the why, and often the how, much later. 

[If you are interested in this kind of project, I encourage you to check out a few of my friends who are participating in their own Project 365s: Caitlin, Jaime, and Kristina]

As I write this, I’m a mere 25 days into the project, and I am making my way through the self portraits as honestly as I can.  I have, somehow, remembered to take a photo each day [although, according to Shugarman’s law, now that I’ve said that out loud out blog I will probably forget tomorrow.]  I have found, along the way, a few things to be true.  I am sure many more lessons will come in 2011, and that these are just the tip of the iceberg of learning and self-reflection.

What I’ve Learned About Myself After 25 Days of Self Portraits

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I do not like having my photo taken, even by myself, when I am ill.

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I wear my IPod Shuffle a lot of the time.

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I often like the blurrier photos better. I think it helps me to remember the movement in the moment – that the photo isn’t posed as much as taken during living.

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I am much more likely to accessorize if I remember while getting dressed that I will be taking a photo of myself today.

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My forehead scar is awesome.  But my left cheek birth marks are even more awesome.

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It is very easy to take photos of myself while I am sitting at my desk at work.

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Since I’ve started the self portrait project, I’ve found I feel a lot more confident.  I don’t know why, but I find myself giving attractive 20-something men I meet while out and about “flirting eyes.” 

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My eyebrows are out of control.  And I kind of like them like that.

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I’m looking at a stranger when I am looking at myself sans thick rimmed glasses.

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When I feel bored with what I’m doing, I grab a prop.

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I should experiment with new hair styles every once and while. And when it comes to make up, I will probably abandon the red lip trend.

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I’ve stopped smiling for pictures, for some reason – but I’ve never felt more beautiful than while I am looking through these photos.

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Sometimes I feel self-conscious about my photo project.  Sometimes I feel like I’m back on MySpace.  Sometimes I feel like I’m trying to be something I’m not.  Sometimes I feel vein. Sometimes I feel like people from my past are laughing at my project and talking smack about me behind my back.

Then I wake myself up and publish the photos in a facebook album for all my family and frienemies to see. I remember that in 20 years I will be very thankful for this project.  I remember that it is giving me goodness.  I remember how it makes me feel: confident, self-aware, and gorgeous.

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27 thoughts on “Lessons from Self Portraits

    1. Heather Post author

      I am glad to hear you are doing it, too! I will have to check out your dailybooth site!

      and thanks! I’m surprised you can tell I’m wearing eye makeup – I always have a hard time seeing it in photos!

  1. Elina (Healthy and Sane)

    I LOVE these!! I think I would look the same every single time – I love the different angles, the smiles and the props. It will make for an amazingly fun collage at the end of the year! 😀
    PS – I’m hosting a giveaway for a healthy cookbook. Check it out if you haven’t already 🙂

  2. Sarah (Sarah Learns)

    you are gorgeous lady! you shouldn’t feel self conscious or vain at all about this project. it’s awesome – i can’t imagine how much fun it will be for you to go back and look at all of the photos when your year is up!
    Sarah (Sarah Learns) recently posted..what i ate tuesday

    1. Heather Post author

      I wish I could teach flirty eyes, Alexia! I don’t even know how I STARTED doing them – they just were suddenly happening one day, and I said to myself, a bit shocked, “SELF! What are you doing? SCANDALOUS!”

  3. Caitlin

    I really REALLY love the photos where you aren’t smiling. LOVE THEM (said in Oprah singsong voice)

    Who cares if you’re being silly or vain or whatever? I personally LIKE being vain. I love myself, thankyouverymuch, and you should too! That’s what I say to all my haters.

    Is Facebook the only place these are posted?
    Caitlin recently posted..A Must

    1. Heather Post author

      Yes, ma’am – you can also find them, along with my other photo-a-days at thenheathersaid.tumblr.com 🙂

  4. Nancy

    Hi Heather:) Thanks for stopping by my blog- I’m looking forward to collaborating with you on a little etsy love!

    I think this project has many benefits, and I think you’re discovering some great ones! I’ve still not tried it, but would imagine that when faced with photographing the same subject daily that you would become much more inventive and improve as a photographer. Yay for you:)
    Nancy recently posted..Freaks and Geeks

  5. Katie H

    This is such a beautiful post, Heather. I love that you are doing this. Also, isn’t it crazy how you can feel naked without your glasses? I have been wearing mine a lot more lately and now do a double take in the mirror when I’m not wearing them.
    Katie H recently posted..A Reunion

    1. Heather Post author

      I think the key is realizing that some photos are going to look similiar. I was starting to stress last week “how many photos of my desk contents are going to be taken this year’ but then i realized that it’s GOING to happen, and that it’s OKAY that it happens. Especially considering I spend A LOT of time at my desk – if a handful of photos of my desk make it in the collection, then it is a good representation of how I spent my year, right?

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