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The Object of Me

10/26/2011

I hate having my picture taken.

I have been working on a website for one of my art groups and the guy who is putting the site together suggested we have a picture of the group on the website and our individual pictures on the artist pages. Subsequently, we are prepping for a show at a UConn gallery. “We could put your pictures on your artists statements” the curator said excitedly. Ahh, there it is again.

So I have been examining the reason for my photo phobia and have some reflections on the subject. It is not all about how badly I photograph.

I am not sure our obsession with representing ourselves in a photo everywhere is a healthy thing. It strikes me as a form of objectification. Is this not the same as calling me the wife? The woman? The middle-aged person? It removes me from my creative persona to my physical self. Like any artist and designer I want to be known for my work, my ideas. Actually, isn’t that what everyone wants?

I used to work for a boss who always called his wife, “the wife”. You don’t hear women saying I have to go home to “the husband”. It was a subtle but effective way to make his wife an object instead of a person. I also have relatives who come to family events laden with cameras of every form to capture each and every moment. In some ways it becomes more about photo ops than the event itself.

So I ask you to consider the use of photos. More importantly where you post them. Yes, there is a time and place for photos. But if we are to see each other for who we are we need to see beyond the face, the body, the sex, the age. We need to see the person.

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