Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Perfection-less

Chapter 14 of my Book Passages series strikes a very deep chord with me and my feelings about beauty, society, perceptions of self both internal and external. The pressures society has put upon us to look a certain way and create this false sense of what is "normal" or expected can make us feel very small and insecure in our own skin. Having photographed all types and shapes of people in my many years as a professional photographer one very significant thread has stood out. It doesn't matter if one is thin, large, tall, short, big nose or small nose; most everyone has insecurities about their outer shell. The most beautiful portraits come from those that have the confidence of their own self.

My visual interpretations for this passage come from Kit Reed's novel, Thinner Than Thou.
When you're alone in your mind you may think you're special, but you're only ever another dumb person driving around inside that stupid body. It's no better than a car dealer's loaner, you know? Forget what the Reverend Earl preaches. The body you are using is no temple, it's a trap for the contents of your head. You want to think about who you are and what to do about it but instead you obsess over the parts that people see. Keep it clean and keep it polished or they'll come for you. Perfect hair, you need. Perfect outfits. Perfect abs and pecs! Image is everything. You grow up with this and in case you don't happen to know, they teach it in all your classes.




7 comments:

M.S. said...

So good. This series photos really captures the spirit of the book passage... and then some. Thanks Bill!

Mike Starling

Anonymous said...

Hi Bill, I like the way you use the figure in a sort of "anti-glamour magazine" way. In particular I liked the top image with the model turning the rubic's cube of body parts. I felt that the bottom one was a little too "arty" with its exaggerated use of negative space. But that's just me.

M.S. said...

Interesting points. I thought the last three photos worked really well as a series, portraying that feeling of insecurity about our own bodies described in the book passage. By the last shot the model seems to be trying to escape view by the world entirely, which I think is very effective...

Naomi said...

I love the second image because there's a lot of frustration there, but it's shown with her body, not with her face. I agree with M.S. that the last three photos work well as a series. For me, the first photo feels out of place — not just because the scale is different but because her facial expression seems so prominent. Great excerpt, by the way, whoever chose it.

Bill Zuback said...

Thanks for the comments. I first was drawn to the first one but I like M.S's idea of using the three lower ones together as a series. What I do like about the bottom three images is that you get a greater sense of loneliness, introspection, contemplation. The top image has other merits that are bolder in it's statement and maybe that is why the lower images speak more. It is a quieter talk but I think that may be appropriate for what is both an internal/external conflict but one that is dealt with usually in private.

Frieda Babbley said...

I am definitely in love with the last one. Not only is it just phoenomenal to me visually, but as M.S. above said, "By the last shot the model seems to be trying to escape view by the world entirely, which I think is very effective...". It made me want to cry a bit, that last one, especially knowing your thoughts and of course the passage.

Anonymous said...

Your 14th Photo Series successfully slides down an individual's essence of self . We select not what we are born with but we need to learn how to love what and whom we are. Without self love we find internals we reject like the rubic's cube of parts,the mystery of arm tattoos, the precision of a hair style. Lost within our spaces we tend towards self doubt, self delusion and emptiness surrounding. Internal doubts fashion external fixations that mask true identities. The photos match the internal personality to the external candid. Well done!