Portraits of Ordinary Women
In the words of Annie Leibovitz, “It’s just a photograph.” In an article in the Globe and Mail, the writer says, “What is a portrait of a famous person? Is it an attempt to unearth the personality behind the official role, or is it a glorification of the person's office, of the mask itself?” Leibovitz talks about photographing celebrities: “I have a problem with the word celebrity”,” she says. “I don't think of Stephen Hawking as a celebrity. It sounds cheap. … I like to think of myself as a portrait photographer of our time.”
It’s surprising how difficult it is to screw up the courage to post a bunch of photos of oneself on one’s own blog, even. But as I’ve said elsewhere, I think it’s important for ordinary and in my case quite dorky people to post, or at least take, pictures of themselves. Yes, I have wrinkles, am super asymmetric, haven’t had my hair cut professionally for at least a decade….etc. But here I am. We don’t have to be perfect, we aren’t movie stars. This is what it looks like to be a 53 year old woman in the early 21st century.
What is a photograph of an ordinary person? That’s my question. Can it get at the fact that an ordinary person is just as interesting as a celebrity? Maybe more so. What masks do ordinary people wear and why and how? And what is fair?
“When I say I want to photograph someone, what it really means is that I’d like to know them. Anyone I know I photograph.”
– Annie Leibovitz
“A thing that you see in my pictures is that I was not afraid to fall in love with these people.”
– Annie Leibovitz
The one thing that I think is interesting about me is that my eyes don’t match. But I also think everyone has something interesting about them. I guess I also find wrinkles to be quite interesting, though the wrinkles of others are more interesting than my own. I’m in love with people who own their wrinkles, even if I’m not sure I do myself.
Photographing someone is intimate, but it can also just be fun. It’s a way of getting to know someone. And really, it’s just a photograph, one click of the button.