“Self-portrait with snow and colorful hat” (Living Room, Silver Spring, Maryland)
In this photo, snow is only snow. This is, in fact, a story- about my vanity. Catching a glimpse of myself in the webcam as I turned away to look out the window, I decided to look left rather than right, so that the left side of my face–with its darker patches of hyperpigmentation would not show. Then, I used the touch-up tool, to remove some hyperpigmentation fromthe exposed right side. If I knew how, I would have erased my double-chin. I’ve never thought myself particularly vain in photographs. I am she of the bright and cheesy smile no matter what. What has caused my vanity to leak out here when I am the one holding the camera? I suppose we all are storytellers and liars both . . .
Seeing is a tricky business. How to know exactly which narrative will survive the shutter’s guillotine click? Or that long lonely distance from imagination through wrist through pen or keystroke to paper? James Baldwin said, “All art is a kind of confession.” I’d add too that it is a gamble, out of our hands perhaps before the work even leaves our hands. We neither know what the eye truly sees nor what narrative we confess in response.