You know I wonder if we ever really understand how much our profile image says about us. I always look at profile images not for anything creepy, but because I am a photographer, I am interested in people’s projection of themselves. After all what is the first thing someone sees when they look at your profile, or your comments, but your icon with your profile image on.
Let’s talk about mine; interestingly I thought if I am going to talk about this I need to show you what it is I see or look at when I look at a profile image. I will of course be posting my own profile image so you may see what or where or how I view images. They can be revealing, or say so much about us, so here it goes.
I call it “me behind a mask”, some of you may or may not know, but I currently reside in Thailand with my Partner, who works here. Part of my healing process was to get as far away as physically possible from all the pain and angst that I had in the UK .
One of my particular favourite things outside of the norm of Landscape and Architecture is Street Art, or Graffiti. I can never resist taking images and seeing how they differ from not only artist to artist, but country to country to. They appeal to the creative side of my that is rubbish at anything with a brush and paint.
On a recent stay back in Nong Khai, where I spent my first year in Thailand, (now in Korat). I saw this very unique and stand-alone image on a wall opposite one of my favourite places to eat. Scarily I even stood in the middle of the road to get this image right! (Not recommended in Thailand or anywhere for that matter).
What caught my eye is the colour, I love colour! It reminds me of what I used to be like before all the mess in my life. Colourful. I saw the image was covered in this colourful mask, I believe the character behind the image is portrayed as female, on account of the long pretty eyelashes! So it struck me that I could see myself in this image. The mask was not only colourful, but cracked and jagged, and I saw perhaps a physical show of pain, and the broken pieces (mosaic) as the amount of times of pain, or the sharpness and depth of the pain.
Behind the mask, there is softness with the ears and eyes and hair features, this betrays the person behind the mask, right? The real me, that is so easily hurt and damaged. The softer person.
So this image tells people quite a lot about me, if you look carefully you may see yours says quite a lot about you! Some prefer to be themselves, others will never show their faces or anything that can be traced back to them, and they want to be totally anonymous! And that’s fine.
I also want to say that Photography was and is a big part of my recovery. It has become a necessity to me, it gets me out of the house/flat, it doesn’t judge me, I can see the World through my eyes not how someone else wants me to see it. I.e. I am a realist, but I also like to experiment with different views. I can do it on my own or with someone else, or in a crowd! No one is standing over my shoulder telling me what to do, or criticizing me, or rushing me. It is a manifestation sometimes of my mood, or focus in life, along with the instant opportunity that may present itself. Spontaneous moments in life that we are not always able to record any other way, Also a record of memories in lives we live. So a valuable tool in anyone’s arsenal to recover from all sorts of depression and anxiety and just generally feeling Meh!
Trust me people who live with depression or anxiety are not the only people who have suffered, and many of the photographers I speak to say how it has been a life saver for them, or that it keeps them from going under. I am aware that there are photography therapies too. It is well documented with the Institute of Mental Health, and many other therapy organisations. Me I self-started when I was 16 with my first pay packet, then , I didn’t realise it, I was using it as a therapy from my destructive mother, it never left me and now at the age of 55 I think I make a fairly decent picture, but selling is not the aim, I really do do it for enjoyment and my sanity. I hope you try it out and get something out of it too!