Monday, November 24, 2008

The Subject Is Too Dark

Often when I try to take pictures, my camera tells me that the subject is too dark, which always makes me laugh given this simple observation could sum up my entire life. I like taking pictures at night and in urban areas; I like the constant gray skies, the sadness of twilight, the beauty of the city. My photography, much like my writing, is not for all tastes. People often express concern for my safety to which I can only point out that everything bad that has ever happened to me has happened in houses, places that are supposed to be safe. But unlike children's games where there's always a spot where nobody can touch you, a base, a way of asking for mercy, real life affords none of this comfort.

I also take pictures of myself for this blog as a visual diary of a life. As with everything, some pictures are better than others and a number of people take the pictures so the styles vary. I try to keep the pictures current lest I seem like a writer who has a picture from twenty years ago on the book jacket because he or she "doesn't have any others." The activity of being photographed in strange places involves an inherent risk, but not much -- mostly I get told I have a nice ass which as the Brautigan poem says, so much is gained and lost with those two words. We all have pictures of ourselves that we like and hate -- my worst was from my wedding where I wish someone had told me to lay off the hot glue gun and give up on the fake pearls, fertility symbols that kept dropping into my hair and onto the floor. And I have ones where I look happy or sad, that something I didn't know I was feeling, caught on camera. Pictures, as the advertisers understand, tell us who we are. I think of how I tried to make myself look normal after my rape with my mother's under eye concealer. She almost never wore make-up so there wasn't much with which to work. It's not lost on me how I take out my own concealer now before someone snaps my pictures to cover up the flaws, a lot of them self-inflicted. Rinse, repeat, until you are satisfied that you are done.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"The theme is the theme of humiliation, which is the square root of sin, as opposed to the freedom from humiliation, and love, which is the square root of wonderful."
Carson McCullers

Cocktail Hour
Here begins the festive seasonal drinks for the upcoming holidays!

1 part Stoli Vanil (or plain)
1 part Hiram Walker Pumpkin Spice
Cinnamon-sugar rim.
Combine ingredients in shaker w/ ice.
Shake vigorously.
Strain into martini glass and serve.

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday!


Albuquerque, nm said...

You're a brilliant subject, in your photos as well as in your posts. But how do you answer critics who contend you're simply bartering in sex appeal, as male artists and writers have done with provocative images of women for centuries?

Anonymous said...

No matter what, you are the best.

And if all people can notice about you is your ass, an obvious thing to look at, then they don't need to know the rest of you.

Walk on, walk right on.

Scott said...

Hi Michelle!

I like your photography and your writing. I've been accused of being 'dark' more than once myself.

I hope that any compliments I've sent your way haven't been taken the wrong way...I just call 'em as I see 'em. :)

Have a good week, and take care!

jodi said...

Hi Hon, I remember once when I barely knew you, I told you not to "be dark". You and Cal just cracked up! I understand you much better now, and realize its only part of who you are. People will always comment on our bodies but will being ugly hold less criticism? U B U!!xoxoxo

the walking man said...

Charles Gramlich said...

I've always been more afraid "in" places than outside. There's freedom outside. And the wind is always blowing your past behind you.

Joe said...

I think one of the things that make blogs like this popular is that you are revealing something of yourself, both by posting pictures of yourself, and by being open an honest about your life.

Reading blogs, which are often personal diaries, writ large and posted on a virtual bulletin board, is a voyeuristic endeavor.

I say kudos and godspeed, and you should never feel something is lost when someone pays you a compliment. It's done all too rarely in our society.

Have a nice holiday.

chris said...

You did make a nice guest to be stuck with on a plane.

I recall all of you, your book,color of hair,coffee,and a black dress that fit just right. All compliments were sincere, you are just hard to get to know,on a web page.

Take care of yourself.

YogaforCynics said...

As a guy who doesn't like to have his picture taken on the best of days, and prefers not to look at or share those that are taken, I find your visual diary quite courageous, especially combined with such fearless prose.... Hope you keep it up for a long time.

sexy said...