Over at Shutter Sisters today, my friend, Kristin Zecchinelli writes about proof – photographic proof that we exist, that we are here, that we are a part of the moments and memories that we capture with our cameras. Her post hit very close to home and to my heart. I remember one year, it was 2006 I think, as I was putting together a small scrapbook album for my youngest daughter’s birthmom for Christmas. I sorted through the photos of the girls for the year and found that in an entire year, not a single picture existed of my girls and I together. It hit me right between the eyes. I felt so sad. I felt invisible. It did not feel good at all.

This was long before I had the benefit of having connected with the wonderful women of Shutter Sisters. It never occurred to me to turn the camera back toward myself. I couldn’t, however, send an album to my daughter’s birthmom in which I did not exist at all. I had been there, I was present. I was always documenting. But I never handed off my camera and no one ever asked to take it from me for a shot that included me. There was trouble in my marriage at the time, trouble that I wasn’t yet aware of, but it hurt that even my husband didn’t see me. I asked him to take a picture of the girls and I to include in the gift album. I will always treasure this image because in that year, it was the only one.

I have since turned the camera back toward myself with much more frequency. It is not easy. I struggle, like so many of us do, with body image issues – I gained a significant amount of weight the year after my husband died and most of it is still with me. I don’t so much mind the signs of getting older, I am older. But I don’t like to see the weight. (This is really hard to even admit right now, but I’m on a brave streak today, so I’m just going to put it out there.)

When I started my 365 project this year, I also made a challenge to myself that I was going to do one self portrait a week for the year. This is week 16. I’ve managed to keep that commitment and have been posting those images to a Flickr group. Sometimes I really fall in love with the image and other times, I hold my breath and press the add photo button and don’t look back.

I’ve never really liked looking at pictures of myself. Most of the reason that I never handed the camera off to others to include me in the memories is because I never liked the results. I always wished that I could get a photo of myself that would be framed as I would frame a photo, that was shot with my eye and my sensitivities. Still, it never, ever occurred to me to make a practice of self-portraiture. Odd, isn’t it?

Even though I am now committed to the weekly selfies, I still struggle with the technical knowledge and skill to take the portrait of myself that I dream of. I love looking at the self portraits that my friends shoot and I want some of that magic. So, today, I leaped of the edge of my fear, breath held and heart pounding. I signed up for a six week self portrait class with Kristin and Meredith Winn. I’m scared to stand alongside so many women I admire, so many women who’s self portraiture I adore, and put myself in the shot. But I’m going to do it.

If not now, when? (As Kim Klassen asked us in Beyond Layers a few weeks ago.) This week, she challenged us to do something for ourselves, something loving and kind. This class is my gift to myself. I am going to be present, I am going to be seen.

Today, Kristin asked us to turn our cameras around and make a shot, proof that we are here in this moment. Just shoot – no processing, no fixing. Shoot not for the beauty, for the proof. Here’s proof –

I would love it if you shared a link to your proof with me here or drop over to Shutter Sisters and leave a link there.


About Siobhan Wolf

Single mom, Spiritualist medium and minister, writer, and photographer exploring life from central Ohio.
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2 Responses to Proof

  1. Kim Klassen says:

    hello lovely….
    what a touching post… truly so real and true… beauty is in all that! don’t you think?
    the photo of you and your girls…is so very very beautiful… oh my gosh…wow… really… so adorable.
    I’m really so happy to have you in Beyond….and I’m excited about our Now You journey…. it will be so good for us.

    I really admire the way you take the weekly selfies…. I hope to get to that…..

    lotsa love… xo, Kim

    • Siobhan Wolf says:

      Oh, Kim, thank you so much for stopping by here and leaving your kind words. I do think the beauty is in that, all the open-heartedness. It is like a rose beginning to bloom. You are one of the bravest women I know, and I am so grateful to be spending the Beyond year with you. Now You will be very good for us. (And I also can’t wait for October to be together in person once again…oh, the delight and precious treasure of that!)

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