THE BAD SIDE PROJECT
I’ve spent my whole life avoiding and obscuring my bad side. If I’m at a gathering and a camera comes out, I surreptitiously position myself so that my left side faces the camera, with my chin slightly down and to the right. I never face the camera straight on, and never from the right, if I can help it. I’ve done this my entire adult life. A quick glance at years of photographs of me on facebook will back me up.
This last week, I was at a gathering of over 200 photographers. Anywhere and everywhere I looked, a camera was being pointed in my direction. I could maneuver myself to be on the good side of one camera, only to place all my flaws in the limelight of another. Photo, after photo, after photo, taken of me from my bad side. I would look at the LCD screen on my friends’ camera and my eye would immediately be drawn to the bump in my nose, or my one snaggle tooth, or my chicken pock scar, or my asymmetrical smile, or my deep set eye. My friends, however, would look at the image and immediately say how beautiful I looked. That I don’t have a bad side. That it’s in my head.
So many of us are programmed to hate ourselves from such a young age, and despite my happy go lucky demeanor, I’m not immune. I can’t take a compliment without deflecting it. You like my hair? Well, it’s not my natural color. I look pretty today? The new foundation I bought works miracles. I look thin? It’s the cut of the dress. That’s a nice photo of me? Well, that’s thanks to the light, or the shallow depth of field, or the composition, or a testament to the photographer’s talent. I can probably count the number of times someone has complimented me and I’ve just said a simple “Thank you” on one hand. I beat myself up about my appearance every day, and that’s just one of the many ways I’m not as nice to myself as I should be.
The bad side project is my attempt to start seeing what other people see in me, in myself, and to help other women do the same. We all have hang ups about ourselves that most people would never notice. It’ll be a series of portraits taken exclusively from the “bad” sides. Do you think have a bad side? I want to hear about it, and I want to take a photograph of you from it: a photograph of you that, when you look at it, makes you feel beautiful, makes you realize that it’s all been in your head. If you’re interested in participating, email me a email@example.com
Here’s to getting to a point where I can be at peace with all my sides.