You look beautiful – but a story about me …..Once upon a time I met a man who had written many books which were very popular around the world. I gave him my copy of The pilgrimage to sign but I could not stay long, so I collected it next day. He had left a message on the flysheet of the book. I had not mentioned to him that one of my brothers has recently died. But his message to me indicated he knew. He referred to me as a warrior of the heart. Interesting I thought. 18 years on and earlier this year I was exhausted by the stress and physical hard work of being a carer. Though always physically strong and fit and athletic I had a sudden heart attack. I died. I was very lucky; paramedics were nearby and I was revived and taken immediately to one of the best heart units I was recovering well in May I had to have major open heart surgery. I am ok now but much has changed in my outlook. I have been near death. I heard about your self portrait project. I am a keen photographer. I wanted a record of me as I am, before I get old. Of my body as it is. Clothed and naked. A trusted expert photographer friend agreed to take the photos; I learned from him how to pose and adopt the poses of the ancient Greek athletes. I’m nothing like them of course, too lean. Crazy but fun. I look at myself and see the imperfections. The 2 long operation scars – which are in fact fading. Strong legs but a slightly saggy bum. The still thick blond hair below which is an ageing craggy face. But that’s me . And that’s you Cristina, beautiful and compassionate and hopefully getting others to learn to love themselves, be loved and be lovers. I feel better about myself. I hope you do. It is cathartic. Accept your body and its perfections and imperfections. The butterfly wing effect of your project. The author was of course Paulo Coelho. With much love and admiration for you and your work. I hope for a lover also !
Someone on Facebook wrote this comment in French:
ce principe d’auto portrait est assez terrifiant, car il n’a que ton regard en miroir. Un regard aimant de l’autre te verrait autrement belle… sans doute… l’amour transforme formidablement les corps… (peut-être)
This principle of self-portrait is quite terrifying, because there is only your gaze as in the mirror. A loving gaze coming from someone else could see you beautiful, no doubt… love transforms bodies wonderfully… (perhaps)
Wow Cristina! Really interesting work of detachment of the physical body! It is hard for the mind to accept how the body ages while the inner Self is so young and alive!. Very brave of you! To use your own body to express something that is “inappropiate” by society standards but that is life itself. While most of the people are using filters and Photoshop to post a nice pictures and get approvals you express something real and deep.
I have mixed feelings about this video.
First of all it reminds me of my own experience of the Self Portrait Experience with CN. But the difference was that she was not really exploring her emotions. It was more an aesthetical analysis of the images. Actually, an analysis of her body. I think it is very brave to do that, especially when you do not feel comfortable with your body anymore. I can imagine that it must be weird to see oneself aging.
Most of the time one sees oneself in clothes. CN is so estranged from her naked body that she does not recognize herself anymore. In one situation she says that she hasn’t seen her face like that before. In the moment when she is dressed again she can also recognize herself again. That is an insightful moment. So, the saying that persons who are naked depict, who they really are, does not seem to be true. In her personal, subjective reality she is the person with the nice jeans not the naked one. And that subjective reality is her reality, her truth. This is very interesting in this video.
On the other hand, I got the impression that she saw herself as a very beautiful person when she was younger. Of course, it is tough to see yourself growing old. But it seems to me a bit narcissistic, superficial and somehow sad how an aging person assesses her body – and nothing else in these photographs.
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