Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Faces and optical illusions

Kim's recent post Are you scared of your face? has got me reflecting on my own visage, image, whatever. I have been following the comments with interest and there is huge variation in responses; some realistic and accepting, some unsure and self conscious, some curious and so on.

The years are written on my face. I know this. There are lines beginning to make themselves more present, creases of laughter and frowns. Which is more recognised in my face by the rest of the world?

When I look in the mirror I see the scar from a broken nose, the drier skin and beginning to age neck, eyes that are searching for signs of hope or beauty and instead wondering what was there before.

Sometimes, rarely, I catch myself in the mirror and think 'You look ok. Smile.'

Photographs show me 'me', but this is not who I see. I see the little untidy girl who cannot smile properly because of once crooked and damaged teeth. I see a little girl who wanted to be pretty and knows she is not.

I have no idea how others see me, would I want to know? Yes, perhaps I would.

I would like to understand how I appear to others. I would like to see me as I am. I would like an image of me that I see as real and true of both the physical and emotional, and perhaps celebrates. I would like to find the joy and depth in my face.

Can I, will I? Can any of us?


  1. Let me know if you're ever near SW Scotland and I'll get my camera ready :)

  2. Funnily enough, I'm heading home on a train about to pass through Dumfriesshire, probably the most attractive bit of the journey north.

    Are you as shy or intimidated by a camera pointing at you as most of us are? Do you ever give up your postion behind it and face your own face (as someone else sees and not in your toaster!)?

  3. I've learned to recognise this face from the outside, even if it does look a little odd :)

    I have plenty of self portraits kicking about my blog. I take quite a few photos of me - usually because I have an idea I want to try out, and I don't have anyone else I can stick the camera in front of within easy distance, so I turn it round and set the timer function.

    Apart from the fear someone might catch me picking my nose, I'm not too worried about having my photo taken by someone else.

    In fact, I'd love to see what some who has as much passion for portrait photography as I do, would do with my face.

    It's unlikely to happen though, as they would probably want to charge money and I'd think, "for that amount I can do it myself..."

  4. Knowing your face must be a good thing,and having the confidence or insight to play with what you can do with image of youself, even better.

    I know mine only in segments from the daily face painting ritul, or backwards in the mirror. It's funny, because three years ago I got a new nose -courtesy of a student, a shop door and a creme egg! Long story - but I still don't always feel like it's mine or understand the impact that it had on how I look, if at all.

    I used to have a nose that was politely described as 'strong', 'aqualine', 'characterful' and other such nonsense. Now I have a scar, albeit relatively small, and a hump free nose. When I think of me, I still think of the old version of my face...odd.

    I probably have less than half a dozen photos of me, just me. Any others are me defined by relationships to others. Big sister, daughter, friend, girlfriend and so on.

    I've been fascinated to read the responses from your readers. Shy curiosity and hope that we're all 'ok' abound. You've made people giggle and reflect.

    Who knows...maybe I'll take you up on being in the vicinity one of these days, after all you're my most local fellow blogger I think! (I'm one of those pesky weegies....)

    Hope your exhibition stuff is shaping up, I admire your goals with the portraits. Thanks for stopping by,


  5. Ah, I knew you were in the UK, I didn't know you were a weegie - much closer than I realised. In that case, please at least consider the option of coming down to the exhibition in May - it's in Gatehouse of Fleet (check google maps) :)

  6. V, I suffer in the same way with my smile. As a child I lost both of my two front teeth prematurely and while waiting for my "big' teeth to appear learned to hide the gap by not smiling.

    What we easily learn to do in our childhood is not so easily forgotten in adulthood, and now if asked to smile for a camera it always looks so forced.

    So much of how we are is determined by what happens to us when we are young, sometimes the simplest of things, it seems, can have far reaching effects in later life don't you think?

  7. Absolutely! thanks for stopping by,