• Ellie J

Self Portrait Journey

So! I've been toying with the idea of doing a self portrait for a long time now, but I keep putting it back, cringing at the thought of putting myself "out there" and on display! I've never been much of my own fan, largely because I was taught not to be. I've been put down in my life way more than I've ever been brought up and honestly it just kind of sticks eventually. I started feeling like this project was the elephant in the room that I keep ignoring, all the while trying to better and improve all other avenues of my life. I realised how silly it was, that just because I'm not the version of myself that I want to be yet, I really shouldn't make this version of myself irrelevant. What if it takes longer than I planned? Or that I never get there? Do just choose to put myself into a sub par category forever? So the decision was made to do it. Nightmare fuel! I was actually nervous all day leading up to it. I thought about all the beautiful props I owned, makeup and hair ideas that I could do and it felt like it would be wasted on me, that I should save it for someone prettier, someone that can model for me while I'm behind the scenes. I decided to look in my collection anyway, because part of me couldn't accept the feeling of settling for 'sub par'. I found these grass hair clips that I've loved and have been saving now for years for the right shoot, but they just never fit into my plans. I mulled over the thought of it being a tongue in cheek metaphor about how I'm still growing as a person, learning to be in my skin, dealing with my health and my perception of myself. "Okay! So fuck it, I'm using the clips!" I thought I was a lot further than I was with my self image but the idea of being in front of a professional camera was near enough impossible and that's why I felt the need to push myself to do it. It caught me off guard how ready I was to say "no I can't" over something as simple as a photo, and then all the feelings that came after of not being good enough. There are plenty of reasonable and beneficial changes for me to make in order to feel more myself but I

am kinda over using myself as a punching bag for all of my negative, highly critical views. I can't imagine how many things I've decided, consciously or subconsciously that isn't for me because I haven't liked myself enough. So here it is, I hope you like them. I'm happier than I expected to be! When I first looked at the results, I didn't see one picture I liked; I was embarrassed and disappointed but not surprised! I persevered regardless, because at that point, leaving it unfinished would have felt worse than ever. To be inkeeping with my theme, I decided to keep editing to a minimum or it felt like I was defeating the object entirely. By the end of editing, I actually liked the set I produced. I felt a lot more comfortable looking at myself, and the things that were jumping out at me were no longer in the forefront. Maybe this was a accidental step in the right direction.