Anatomy of a Profile Picture

Here is my current facebook profile picture.

Not to sound arrogant or Narcissistic, but, I love this photo and I find myself contemplating it a lot, both from an artistic perspective and in self-reflection.

What I love about this photo - I love how the dark and light spaces almost quarter the photo, but at angles instead of straight lines, light cat-a-corner to light and dark to dark. I love that the only color is around and in my face which is in the center of the photograph, and that the only colors with warm tones are those in my face.

I love the motion that the lines of the tree I am leaning against and my arm give to the photo. I love that you can't see what I am looking at, but it sure looks like it was something interesting.

I like the odd perspective of the photo so that you can't really tell what is going on.

And best of all, this was all fortuitous, a quick snap shot, taken without planning and without me seeing what I was taking a picture of, as is the case when you are alone taking pictures of yourself.

I also find fascinating the look on my face - to me I look tranquilly joyful, as if I see something up there that is wonderful.  This is so fascinating to me because what I was trying to do was take a photo where it looked like the thorns of the locust tree were poking me in the head. Don't ask why, I just thought it would be cool. Also, I wasn't feeling tranquil or joyful when I took this photo. I was feeling rather sad and isolated from the world. And cold! My hair looks so frizzy because it was still a little wet when I went out and thus froze. I went on this walk to stave off those feelings of sadness and loneliness. For those of you who don't know, I am in the process of getting a divorce, which will be a positive thing in the end, but at times is difficult.

When I look at this photo, I see a woman I want to be, and that I must be (I hope) somewhere inside. And, I like to imagine that what I am looking at is my future, and, again, I hope that this is a snapshot of how I will feel in that future.  


  1. Wow. It's rare for us to have such different reactions to an image. As a piece of art I find it fascinating, as a first introduction to you (as on a facebook profile) it completely misses the mark for me.
    Your assessment of the composistion is right on-- the angles are interesting, the warm colors draw us to your face, the motion is unusual and intriguing.
    But I don't see in your face in this image what I see in you. When I see you, I see a woman who is already full of joy. I see a smart strong woman who has accepted that she must make tough choices and knows that she will face sadness and lonliness but knows that she will prevail with peace and good humor.
    Maybe because I read your account of this expedition (and I know how cold you get), I see a woman who has fallen against the base of a locust and is bewildered about how to get up. True, she appears serenely bewildered, but I attributed that to her being a little shaken from falling.
    And until just now I never knew that I was a chin person, or that you have a great one, but I guess I do notice chins and you do have a great one (I'm looking at other photos of you) and the thing that really bugs me about this image as a picture or you is that in it you have no chin (and some sort of substitute waddle from your scarf) and as such are missing one of the features that makes your face so pretty.
    I absolutely love the victory image from your walk. It may be less subtle, but in it I see the woman I know-- the one is knows where she is going (and how hard it was to get there).

  2. I also love the picture of you going under the log-- it's plenty mysterious, but I guess I'm just a sucker for smiles.

  3. Thanks for the great comment and compliments SS - and I had a feeling that people would respond to this photo differently than I. Truth be told, I love hearing about it. Partly because I do think that I have a sorta "Mona Lisa" smile - not a full smile, not a grin, not a frown, but an expression that is completely open to interpretation. In fact I almost posted on facebook to ask people what they think about the expression on my face in this photo.

    One note - this photo was taken in my early morning walk, the walk that my "adventure" was part of was about 3 in the afternoon. This was from about 8 am, after I opened the gate.

    Also - this is by no means my favorite image of myself. Some of the ones I took later in the day, for example, I think are much better.

    Thanks for the compliments on my chin - it is one part of my body that I am becoming more self-conscious about. It is one thing I DON'T like about the photo lol.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts