Monday, June 10, 2013

It's all about me

“Everyone lives a self-centered life ... whether its trivial like what's for breakfast, 
or more ambitious, like achieving some lofty goal, a person is constantly on her own mind.” 

-- T.M. Goeglein, Cold Fury

Self portrait 6-10-13

 “If people could see me the way I see myself -- 
if they could live in my memories -- 
would anyone love me?”

-- John Green, An Abundance of Katherines

I take pictures of myself.

A lot.

I spend literally hours each week, thinking about, capturing, looking at and manipulating my own image.

Don't think I don't think that people might think I might be a little self-centered.
A little self-focused. 
A little inward-turned.
A little self-absorbed.
A little full of myself.
A little narcissistic.

Maybe a lot.
I like to think that when I turn the lens on my own face, it is not about infatuation, or gazing at myself. I like to think it's about something deeper than that, something nobler and more constructive.
But still, I do wonder, at times, whether my affinity for self-portraiture is a healthy artistic pursuit of self-discovery, or something darker, something more like a self-addiction that will one day topple me over the bank into the lake to drown in the waters of my own reflection.

When my thinking about how I spend so much of my time and energy turns dark, I try to look on the bright side.

Like, I may be a self-addicted narcissist, but at least I'm not Amish.

I have nothing against the Amish. In fact, I admire a lot of things about the Amish. For instance, they make delicious pickles.

 It's just that if I was Amish and had this compulsion to make pictures of my own face, I'd be in a real pickle. (Although it would be a delicious Amish pickle.)

Did you now that the Amish are forbidden to pose for face-on photos? I thought it was just a "we don't use technology, and cameras are technology" thing. And I knew there was some kind of Old Testament something or other mixed in there. But I never knew the real "why" behind the rule.
According to the "Top Ten FAQ" about "The Amish" documentary on PBS's American Experience:

"Amish churches forbid individuals to pose for face-on photos or two reasons. First, they cite the second of the Bible's Ten Commandments: "Thou shalt not make… any graven image, or any likeness of any thing…." (Exodous 20:14). Second, in a communal society that values humility, posing for photos is a sign of pride that calls attention to oneself and rubs against Amish beliefs about the importance of deferring and yielding to others."

Well, then.

OK. Now I feel really selfish.

Also, I really want a pickle.