Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Dear Friends & Family,

Dear Friends & Family,
I'm not sure how often you visit my Flickr stream, but I could guess that a couple of things stick out.  Standing on Benches is weird, but fun (Some of you have played along).  Yes, most of my pictures don't show the kids' faces.  I don't like to ask for a Smile.  When I do, I only get a pissed off kid.  Some of you might say I take pictures of Nothing (I get it & I'm not mad at ya!).  And there are a couple of SP (self portrait) that have started to surface.  I've decided to take part in 52 Weeks of BAM.  Every time I hit the "Save" button, I worry about your thoughts.  In my head, I imagine you're saying a variety of things.  For example:

"Man!  Look at her ego!"
"I know that she used to have an addiction to ANTM, but geez!  She's way older than the contestants.  She's got a pot-belly & not even close to contestant worthy!"
"She thinks she's so hawt.  Whatever"

Maybe you aren't saying or thinking any of this, but I bet you are.  If I were in your shoes, I'd probably think something similar.  Taking & posting a SP is extremely difficult.  Standing with your family & smiling when the photographer says, "Cheese" is so easy.  Accidentally being in the frame when a cute kid scrambles by is simple.  But putting yourself out there isn't a walk in the park.  Especially when you're behind the camera 99.5% of the the time.  Read this for part of my reason for participating in 52 Weeks of BAM.  But there's an even simpler reason for my decision.

When I started to take pictures, I took pictures of commercially beautiful things.  A smiling kid or a juicy apple.  Those kinds of beauty are easy to see.  Everyone sees those.  The media points them out all day & night.  Your heart points them out.  But slowly something changed in my eye.  Unconventional objects became beautiful too.  A tampon wrapper or a bloody knee also holds a certain type of beauty.  Suddenly my idea of beauty grew & it's hard not to find a dozen beautiful things each day.  That line began to blur.  There was no commercial or unconventional beauty.  Beauty is just beauty.  And it isn't hard to find once you train your eye to seek it out.

If I'm taking your picture, it's because I think you're beautiful.  It doesn't matter if you've got a zit or aren't a size 0.  It doesn't matter if you think you're having a bad picture day.  I wish you could see yourself like I do: stunningly beautiful.  I owe myself the same Eye I give everything else. 

Today, I think I'm beautiful.

-Erika

p.s. Sorry for two posts in one day.  But if I don't put mine up now, I'd chicken out.

24 comments:

  1. I agree, you are beautiful :)

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  2. Excellent...
    The beauty in wrinkles and age and wisdom...The beauty in a mother's belly striped with stretch marks...The beauty that allows people to feel good about who they are...
    Important stuff.
    I get it.
    Congrats to you...
    xo
    Andrea

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  3. That is a really great picture.... And you ARE beautiful.

    I did my Art History thesis on women artists and self portraits. It is a very interesting topic!

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  4. and this post just shows that YOU are BEAUTIFUL.
    I am so glad you are doing 52 weeks with all of us. It is an adventure, a challenge and a reward all wrapped into one (or 52).

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  5. aaaaaah.
    this is beautiful. YOU are beautiful!

    The 52 weeks selfies group goes soooo beyond just taking a picture of ourselves, and this is just one example of why that is.

    I love this so much. lovelovelovelove it. Thank you for writing (and then posting!) it.

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  6. You are beautiful inside and out.

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  7. This photo of you is amazing! You've got some serious heart, girl.

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  8. bama-lama-ding-dong! :P
    you are a rock star and i ♥ u.

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  9. You are beautiful :o)
    Im almost finished my 52 weeks, but plan to do it again ... it really is a wonderful project for the soul ...
    x

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  10. i totally get it now, and i'm starting to develop that eye you speak of. but, i don't know if/when i'll ever be brave (or talented) enough to do SP's!

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  11. i totally get it now, and i'm starting to develop that eye you speak of. but i don't know if/when i'll ever be brave (or talented) enough to do SP's!

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  12. this is awesome! i've been seeing these BAM photos pop up on flickr, which led me to one of yours, and now here. hi. i don't think i'm there yet - 52 weeks of BAM is frightening to me. bravo to you!

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  13. Rachel/justmakeitJune 17, 2010 at 12:37 AM

    I'm doing 100 Strangers, and people are always saying, oh, I'm not brave enough to do that project. But THIS project, the BAM project, is about a million times scarier than 100 Strangers. I admire you so much for doing it, and I love what you wrote here. Really touched me...

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  14. Funny thing is, I've told you that taking my camera out of my bag and taking random shots scares me a lot ... self-portraits? Not so much.

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  15. Interesting stuff - and probably why I don't share my flickr stream with my friends and family too often. Also why I kept my blog for well over a year before even telling my mother.

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  16. I always told you that you had many talents; art, computer and your mouth. You can now add photographer and writer to the mix and you add them all together and you get one talented gal.

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  17. This is the part I love best:
    "I owe myself the same Eye I give everything else."

    So SO so true. Beautiful baby!

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  18. oh wow erika, you have articulated this so very well, and your photo, your PHOTO, is amazing. beautiful. i just can't seem to get my toes on the other side of the line, so i'm doing my own 52, but not posting. i wish i had the courage.....but, baby steps.....i have some journeying to do, and that's a good thing :)

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  19. Awesome!!! Beautiful photograph!

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  20. I just stumbled upon some 52 weeks of BAM photos while strolling through flickr and somehow I came upon this post. Your post really touched me and hit my heart; I actually started to tear up a little. I applaud you for taking on this project; it’s one that I know I wouldn’t be ready for. But reading your post gave me a little more courage, and who knows, maybe I’ll try this myself as I gain more. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and reminding me to give myself the same eye I give all the things I capture .

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  21. Hey, I found this post through flickr. I love your sp! I just took my first one today. I was feeling a bit apprehensive but your words were exactly what I needed to hear.

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  22. I love this post. After our lunch, I went to check out the BAM group, and of course got directed to this post on your blog.

    I'm totally doing it!

    xo

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  23. I like every word you said.

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  24. Amen. So with you. I am excited to start meeting some BAM friends STAT!

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