I was reading this morning and ran across a quote which I want to share. "To show one's face is part of having the courage to show who one is." James Hillman, psychologist, The Sun magazine, July 2012. (http://www.thesunmagazine.org) It seems our culture loves photographs, if you use Facebook at all, you know what I mean. But when I speak to people about having their portrait done, I encounter lots of resistance, especially from women. Could it be a shortage of courage to show who we really are? Or is it fear that others might see something we don't wish to show?
I spend plenty of time in front of a mirror. As women we are taught to see our flaws, in fact there are cosmetic companies and doctors dedicated to helping us change these. I am very familiar with my flaws, the shape of my eyes, my forehead, my ever-present and increasing wrinkles, the freckles and thin lips - I could go on. But what does my face say about my character? Who do I want people to see when I smile or when I don't? I hope my face is pleasing and reveals a caring and authentic person.
Hillman speaks further adding the German Romantic idea: "Tell me what you long for, and I'll tell you who you are?" Longing is an underused word these days. It refers to our deepest desires, what we wish to contribute to our world, how we want to be remembered. If I answer this for myself, it's pretty simple. I long to be kind, considerate and to help reflect back to others the beauty and value I perceive in their faces. I want to face the world with courage and deep conviction in the belief that each of us has value and worth and something to contribute to the world. I want to let each of you know you are loved. And, yes, even beautiful and interesting.
I have always sought to see the best in each person I've encountered. My friends and family used to say I was too optimistic. Is there such a thing? I do see the truth, but I choose to see the best parts first, to focus on those. It seems natural I have found a way to do this and create a lasting image of what I see when I look at you. This is my happiness, to find the best way to help you show your face, to express your courage and to show who you really are to the world. The added bonus is you have something for your family to keep and remember you at your best.
Special thanks to Jeanne, who allowed me the privilege of photographing her. What do you see in her face? What will you choose to show in your portrait?