I’ve never liked the way I look. While I know I’m not extremely ugly, I also know that I would never consider myself ‘good looking’. My face is full of faults, from the scar on my cheek (as a baby I scratched my face quite badly), the way my smile is never full because I’m so self conscious of my crooked teeth, to the way I see that one of my eyelids has a droop… and that’s without getting to the baldness.
But over the last few years I’ve been seeing myself differently, and I put this down to photography. My face is ‘interesting’. All the things I don’t like about it as my own face are the things I look for in others when taking a photo. I look for imperfections, it’s the imperfections in people that make their face their own.
One of the things I’d done to improve my photography is to practice my self portraiture. I do find it difficult to be on that side of the lens (there is a reason I hide behind the camera), and I can only really focus on it when I’m home alone. But the challenge is worth it, on a technical basis it lets me play with light without annoying someone, on a personal basis I have to spend time looking at myself (when was the last time you spent over a couple of minutes really looking at yourself).
I’m never going to love my face, but I can now accept it, maybe even like it. If only I’d started taking self portraits years ago.