The other day I got an email. To be precise, I should say “the other night,” as I happened to be awake somewhere around 2am. Stress, middle age, who knows. I’m going to post the missive’s content almost entirely, because it made me think.
A caveat. I am not, as you will see as you read, posting this to defend myself, or argue. I find it best to regard every piece of criticism as though it has something to teach. You can’t deconstruct anything you’ve already blown to bits.
I enjoy your blog and have been reading it for some quite time now. You are so very witty and I really enjoy your take on life. Thank you so much. You are a great looking woman, fit, stylish and demure. It fits my esthetic perfectly, but, I have to tell you, the photos you post of yourself are really not so good. They could be so much better. The physical location of the shot and the pose has so much to be desired, it hurts my feelings for you. Have you ever checked out “Atlantic-Pacific” blog? She posts daily. It is only fashion focused, but maybe her photos could inspire you. Yes, she is younger, and most likely has a professional shooting the pics, but I know you can do better. Even if you are doing it by yourself with a timer, on your patio, maybe think full length looking downward, then another shot, close up of the shoe, or collar, whatever you are highlighting. You’ll see what I mean when you visit her blog.
I am, I think, about the same age as you, and I would love you to make a better showing. For us.
Only good intentions,
Goldie, thank you very much for writing.
What do we think? Do we midlife style blogger sorts owe each other a better showing?
Let’s first all take a look at the referenced blog, Atlantic-Pacific. We see poses in various locales, in well-lit, well-composed photos. Let us now look at my most recent shot. Ouch. Goldie is right.
The location and lighting issues are fairly simple. I take pictures before I go to work in the morning. The locations involve concrete, the unglamorous outsides of dwellings. The lighting is what it is, on any given day, out any given door.
Poses are another issue altogether. I feel self-conscious about trying to look too pretty. There. I said it.
Those of you who also blog will have your parallel, or identical issue. It’s weird putting pictures of oneself, ostensibly stylish ones at that, out for all to see. When it’s not one’s job. When the photos are also linked to one’s personal approach to life.
And I think I’ve got an internal calculator, always balancing the ratio of pretty to dork, trying to keep it in the realm of real.
So, determined to learn from Goldie, yesterday morning I set off for work with the Lumix and tripod in a black Nike gym bag. I took photos on the streets of San Francisco, feeling like a performance artist. Like a museum installation, Middle-Aged Woman Takes Style Photos Of Self One Workday Morning In The City.
Imagine dashing into an alley, placing a tripod in the middle of the street, running to pose. Imagine laughing uproariously as cars arrive before the timer goes off, enforcing an Artist At Work Detour.
Eventually I figured out the sidewalk was safer. And eventually I gathered up courage to look away from the camera, if not down as Goldie had suggested.
When I first began showing outfit photos here, I tried to make them good ones. I bought lights, and a backdrop. I posed artistically. When I took my current job, I devolved to the backyard approach. I wound up looking straight at the camera because it helps me feel like I’m communicating appreciation for your time and engagement.
But that’s just me. The question is bigger.
There must be thousands of young style bloggers taking beautiful photos of themselves. How many of us midlife sorts do the same? I knew of two. Judy Aldridge, of Atlantis Home, and Janet, of The Gardener’s Cottage. Among Visible Monday participants you’ll find a few more. (Hint: scroll to the bottom of the page)
Why? Why is there such a small coterie of midlife style bloggers who show up, hair blowing, chestnut tree allées behind, perfectly lit profiles? And do we owe each other better? You are some of the smartest, most thoughtful, most articulate commenters in the blogosphere. What do you think?
And yes, that is my new Dries van Noten dress, part photoprint of the Tokyo night sky, part Belgian toile. Worn with Sofie d’Hoore flats and Claudia Kussano earrings. On the other hand, the black trench is generic Nordstrom, the scarf a New York street vendor special. Asked to represent the midlife woman, better, one does what one can.
In for a penny, in for a pound.