Tag Archives: photography

blaugust #25: #365kateris

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A few weeks ago I posted a bit of a rant about realizing I’ve been feeling uncomfortable with myself. On the heels of that, I decided to embark on a year-long daily self portrait project. I chose today to begin because it’s my birthday and that seems like the ideal time to begin a period of self-reflection. It’s also a good, unforgettable marker. I don’t have any rules for myself other than to post one a day. They may all be my face; they may not. For today, I decided to start by looking at my face in a place where I spend a lot of neutral time: waiting for a train. When I take pictures of myself, they’re always attempting to convey something. This time, I’ve tried to just look at my own face as other commuters probably see it. 42, waiting for the train after a pretty good day at work.

I’m curious to see where this leads me, and looking forward to seeing them pile up. I’m going to post these on Instagram, and they’ll be tagged #365kateris. The finished project will be collated on this website at the end of the year.

(This is the 25th day of the Blaugust daily blogging initiative.)

blaugust #07: the hell with that.

Remember a couple of days back when I wrote that post about taking a daily photograph? I’m still thinking about it. I’ve been spending a fair amount of time lately organizing my photos in Dropbox – a massive task as I have not only all the photos that go with a regular life, but thousands upon thousands of product photographs as well. As I’m going through my regular life photos from my phone, however, I’ve noticed something. I haven’t posted many selfies lately.

I take selfies all the time. I’m in a long distance relationship, and part of staying close is that Phil and I send each other a lot of photos. I don’t tend to post those, or use them for avatars, though; even if it’s an especially nice photograph, those are for us. Where I’ve fallen off is in taking pictures of myself to show what I’m doing or how I’m feeling, and I realized those are few and far between over the past six months. So I started thinking about why that might be. After all, I have probably the best haircut I’ve had in three years right now.

And here is the uncomfortable answer to that question: I am editing myself out of what I post because I’m not comfortable in my own skin right now. It’s been a stressful six months, and I’ve put on about 20 pounds. It’s been a searingly dry, hot summer in Portland, I’ve been drinking too much wine, and my skin looks like it. And last but not least, my hair is going grey. (That one is on purpose, I’m letting it. But it’s very in-between at the moment, and I’ve been hiding that as well.)

So I realized this, and I read that last paragraph over, and my whole body rises up with a very noisy FUCK NO. It took me years to love myself. I was well into my thirties before I stopped hunching and hiding and cringing and wearing the entirely wrong clothes. When I finally woke up and felt the joy of my own body, it was like getting to start all over again. I felt amazing. There is no way I’m going back to being that hidden person.

We all get constant, aggressive messages about how we’re supposed to look and how we’re supposed to feel about ourselves if we don’t look the way we’re supposed to look. It’s so easy to believe those messages. I’m a grown, educated, self-aware woman with very few fucks to give about how I am perceived, and I still fell into the trap of editing myself to myself over the course of a few short months. The hell with that.

So, two things:

  1. On my birthday, in a few weeks, I will start that daily photo project. It will not be of a place. It will be a daily picture of me, posted on Instagram, unedited, regardless of how I feel about myself right then or where the day took me. I will do this for one year.
  2. Some things I believe. I need reminding of these beliefs, because sometimes I get sneakily done out of them.
    • I believe all women are beautiful
    • I believe that the term “age-appropriate” is demeaning and controlling bullshit
    • I believe that when I choose what I wear according only to what I like – clothing, cosmetics, hair color, jewelry – I give myself a power that can’t be achieved any other way
    • I believe in the way my belly shakes when I flip the onions browning in the pan
    • I believe in the power of my chapped, arthritic hands and all the things they can do
    • I believe in the creakingly ancient woman I met on the bus last week, wearing a black dress and black silk stockings and honest to God real pearls and a knitted monkey hat

To show you I mean it, here’s what I look like today.

I look at this picture and I see at least 5 things I’d like to change. My hair is about three different colors. I’ve got a false tooth right in the front of my mouth (this is why I am seldom smiling a proper toothy smile in selfies, but in keeping with this post THE HELL WITH THAT. I got that false front tooth playing a really fun game). I have allergies today, so one eye is puffy and red. And there’s a freckle that could probably do with checking out by a dermatologist.

None of that needs thinking. None of it needs writing. I nearly took it out, but I need to leave the part about the tooth in there, so it stays. But with a reminder: every time we apply these judgments to ourselves, every woman around us quietly takes that in, and applies the same judgments to herself. That is one toxic game of dominoes, and it needs to stop. I don’t take the pictures so I can catalog all the fabulous things about how I look. I take the pictures so I can remember all the amazing things I felt, both good and bad. I’m ditching the editor here by the side of the road, and reclaiming my ability to look at this picture and be reminded – hey, today was a good day. It started out frustrating and unproductive, and then it turned out to be such a relaxed and happy afternoon and night. Look at how happy I am. And seriously, that is a damn good haircut.

(This is my seventh – ! – post for Blaugust.)

blaugust #03: same eyes, new day.

augie wren

Smoke is one of my favorite movies. I love the interwoven stories, the raw immediacy of the characters, and the setting. The thing that really keeps me coming back over and over, though, is Augie Wren and his series of daily photographs that he takes of his cigar store corner. The same photograph of the same corner at the same time, every day. And never the same thing twice. I love that.

Last week, my Atlas Obscura weekly email included this pointer to a father and son who have taken the same photograph together for 27 years. It’s fascinating to see the changes in them as the son gets taller and the father’s face gets older and rounder. And then the last photo rolls up and well, I got something in my eye. That’s an amazing record.

The year after I graduated from college, I resolved to look out my window every morning and write a brief description of what I saw. It was interesting for a while, but the habit didn’t last longer than two weeks because there are only so many words to use for the same things. Photographs are different. The same thing will never look the same twice, and I’ve often wished that I’d taken photographs of that scene for a year instead of writing it for less than a month.

I want to try this for a year, so I’m on the lookout for a spot to photograph, and a time of day. Out of my windows is easy, but I’d like someplace that’s likely to have more human action at any given time. A record of the plum tree across the street throughout a year is nice, but not exactly what I’m hoping for. When I settle on a place, I’ll be posting them daily on Instagram, thinking of Augie Wren every time.

(If you’re interested in finding out more about Blaugust, or you’d like to join in, read all about it over on The Aggronaut.)

Smiling in the stacks.

It all started last winter when my friend Bettie Newell and I had a conversation over cocktails about small business and marketing. Bettie is a wonderful photographer, and she had an idea about doing a photoshoot with my urban legend jewelry line. Let’s get some cute girls and some vintage dresses together with your necklaces and take pictures! Well, yes, please, I would love that. A few weeks after that conversation, I posted a photograph on Instagram using a vintage dictionary as a background for a necklace. Bettie texted me immediately and said she thought the library would be perfect for a photoshoot. We set about getting permission and rounding up several of our lovely friends to be models.

And so it happened that about a month ago, I packed up a collection of urban legend jewelry and headed to Central Library in downtown Portland to meet some beautiful ladies. Central Library is an exceptionally beautiful building: spacious and light and elegant. We had a gorgeous sunny spring morning, and the light was beautiful. The group of us spent a fun few hours in the stacks, trying to keep our laughter hushed as we effected wardrobe changes, browsed through books, and scouted out good spots to gather. We managed to be unobtrusive for most of the time, but we gathered a small audience while we were posing on the central staircase. What can I say, we looked adorable.

These pictures are a small sample of the beautiful work that Bettie did. I love her eye for color and faces, and I’m so happy with the way this project came together! It’s been so much fun adding a few of these at a time to my shop listings. Keep your eyes open for more! And please visit Bettie’s website to see more of her beautiful photographs, or to book a photo session.

I’m hunting candy in the wild.

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Last week I received a lovely selfie from a customer, wearing her recent urban legend necklace purchase. It’s so fun for me to see people wearing the jewelry I make, but because I sell most of my jewelry online, I seldom get the chance. Every once in a while, I catch a glimpse of something I made in the wild, as it were, and it’s a thrill that never fades. I want more of this, I’ve decided. How to get it?

BUT WAIT. The internet lets you see pictures! What if I ask you for these pictures, and provide you with a nice incentive to send them to me? Good? Good.

For the rest of January, I’ll be running a giveaway on Instagram for a $50 gift certificate to urban legend. The winner will be chosen at random on February 1 from all the entries. From now until midnight PST on January 31, you can enter as many times as you like. The rules are simple:

1. Post a picture of yourself on Instagram wearing an urban legend necklace (or bracelet or earrings, if they’re your favorite!), and tag me (@katerimorton). For each unique entry, I’ll enter your name for one chance at a random drawing to win a $50 gift certificate to urban legend. If you have one urban legend necklace, and you post one picture, you’ll be entered once. If you have one urban legend necklace but you like to mix it up with different outfits and you post five different pictures, you’ll be entered five times. If you have five necklaces, and you post a different one for each necklace, you’ll be entered five times. At the end of the month, I’ll use a randomizer to select a winner, and will contact the winner by commenting on their post.

That’s it. Just the one rule. I’m hoping I’ll discover a lot of new Instagram accounts to follow, and get to know some of my customers better, but following me isn’t a criteria for entering the giveaway. I’d rather you follow me because you want to. (Spoiler: I post plenty of pictures of beads and jewelry and things I’m making, but I also post a lot of pictures of Portland street art, my niece and nephew, and Murder She Wrote bingo cards. Mine is a strange, full life.)

I’ll see you in pictures! Please don’t eat the jewelry.

Love, Kateri