You are part of the story

first bam everBefore there was Now You there was 52 Weeks of BAM.   Four years ago in May of 2010 there was a group on Flickr created by a talented and insightful woman named Tiffany. It was during this time I began to feel connection with other women from around the world. It was a time of transformation. She created a movement, she did! I had joined Flickr in September of 2009.  I had been posting little tad bits of my life here or there and pretty much daily. I began to notice there were groups, Bench Monday, Facedown Tuesday, and Fence Friday. I noticed there were sort of relationships being formed within these groups. I knew a local photographer who dissed Flickr, she said it was too clicky (giggle….get it clicky) So she wasn’t into it. I can see how she may have felt that way. In the beginning I would be lucky if one person looked at my photographs or even left a comment. Yet I would notice within these groups people seemed to have these strange relationships, like they knew each other or something? I didn’t really understand or get it, until 52 Weeks of BAM came along.

doctors visit

I joined. The timing was just right. I had just turned 40 and I had just lost my grandpa whom I adored. It was a very emotional year of grasping the fact he was really gone and also tripping out that I had entered a new decade. Week by week I would take a self-portrait.

being carefree in front of abbieIt was so WEIRD turning the camera on me. I had previously been all about the family, the kids our trips and even on our trips there was an obvious absence of me. Sometimes motorcycle man would say “here let me take a picture of you and the kids” and that was always nice, or I may remember to use my timer and take a family shot but more times than not, the kids and Rich outnumbered me in our photographs. And honestly it was a slight feeling of being transparent as in, not being a part of, but more like being an observer of.

after 2 nights in the hosptial with littlest girlI’m sure I’m a typical mom. We put our family before us. It’s a natural thing to behave this way. It’s our honor to be a mother, we should get a badge for it for sure. But Tiffany she began to tweak the way I viewed motherhood.

after I found out they think I need to see someoneI began to think back at my own mother. I have vivid memories of my mom. I can close my eyes and see her and even remember her scent. When I was a little girl, she smelt like green apples and her eye tooth sort of popped forward before she got braces as an adult. She had silky blond hair and she always looked gorgeous, she was in charge of her figure. She worked out in tights and leotards at the gym, she did aerobics and drank tab soda. She had a really clean house and worked full-time and volunteered at my school. She was basically a rock star and my inspiration of what a woman was capable of, which pretty much meant I could do anything, she owned her own business too, so not only could she cook from scratch, sew my clothes and be a terrific mother, she could have a career too.

me and herBUT I also wished she had taken more pictures of her and me together and especially I wish there were more images in print of her. She IS a radiant woman with a down deep belly laugh. Can you imagine had she been in a group like this the images that may have happened?

wordsToday, I’m just looking back. How it all began and how awkward it felt in the beginning to turn the camera on myself. And in this practice I realize it IS an art, it’s not about “oh look at me! I’m amazing and adorable” It’s about capturing a mood, what was happening in that day? The proof, I was there, I was fully present.   And sometimes the moods are not good. And yes, many mainstream every day women may think this strange what I do but I’m not mainstream and I’m rather proud of that little fact.

Please remember.  You are not transparent.  You are not on the outside looking in.  YOU are a part of the story.

10 thoughts on “You are part of the story

  1. oh, tracie…!! sometime around this same time, i noticed people taking self portraits and i remember so clearly wanting proof of me… i watched others (like you!!) do it and wasn’t sure i could… it felt vain and sometimes silly… but the work that came along with each portrait, the nowyou classes and the new to me idea that i wasn’t alone, that i could use self portraits as a way of processing life was and is powerful. so very powerful. it has helped me to be so much more gentle with myself and those around me. i love this. xoxo

  2. Oh sweet Tracie, this post is so, so good. You have put into words just what I feel about self portraits. And yours are always so inspirational, they tell a story or set a mood. I can tell you give great thought into them and it has pushed me to do the same. I have been lazy lately and I can feel it. The weekend away was just want I needed to get inspired. This is such a powerful post. Thank you so much! xooox

  3. I love, love, love this. I felt the same when I started on flickr so long ago…what are these groups? How did they get to be the cool kids? I remember seeing the BAM group and feeling so out of it. To take a photo of oneself? How?! I look like an absolute freak anytime the camera turns on me. That’s why I took the first now you class. Because I wanted to look normal. Yeah. That opened up a big door. 😀

  4. I remember nearly all of these and love them all. I loved these courses and although I still find it difficult to get in front of the camera, I’m miles ahead of where I was at the time. Lovely trip back in time here. You are beautiful. xo

  5. loving seeing some of your earlier self portraits and hearing about the journey with that!! So glad you are still doing this! x

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