I See You

It is a very intimate act to turn the camera toward yourself and take some self portraits. 

It’s quite another intimate, scary, vulnerable thing to ask a friend if you can take her photo and let her take photos of you as well.  Liz Lamoreux proposed that we give this a try as part of our inner-excavate-along. My dear friend, Gayle, was willing to share this experience with me, and we met at a local park Tuesday morning for our photo shoot.  We were both nervous, felt all silly and didn’t know what to do, but we did this anyway.  Here are photos and our reactions, in our own words.

Photos of Gayle taken by Deb

I can’t thank you enough for spending time with me this
morning, sharing this adventure of taking portraits of each other.  It
was a beautiful experience…I don’t know how else to describe it. 

Don’t think I mentioned to you that last night I even had a dream that
spoke to me of feeling very vulnerable and exposed.  It takes courage to
allow someone else to See us.

When I finally got home this evening and looked on my camera, I
found that I really took relatively few photos of you!  My own shyness about having someone take my
photo impacted my actions of taking photos of you.

The “New You” photo…I hope you see how wonderful you look now that your body has changed in such a positive way. 

“Fabulous Smile” is my very favorite. You smile all the time! And
you really have a wonderful smile, especially when you are not nervous
in front of the camera. There are so many times when we talk, and when I
see you working at school with your students, and when you are with
people at church…so many times I see you smiling just like this. 

I see a woman who is confident and loving and whose heart is filled with Light.

a Story” is another favorite of mine, wind blown hair and all.  I guess
it reminds me that we have great conversations. And that through all
these talks I have learned how gracious and caring you are.

“Talk with hands” is what it is!  We both do this. How can we not talk without using gestures??? 

“Light” is the last one…  I like the soft light in this one, but I
really really like the expression on your face.  This photo reminds me
of your faith. I think it’s because you are looking up, looking toward
heaven if you will. I’m probably only partially aware of the struggles
you have in your personal life, but, you know, I never hear a complaint
from you.  Maybe I hear the stress come through now and then, but I
don’t think you have ever been angry or cynical about what life has
brought to you.  You have not spoken of that to me.  I have learned so much from your example, Gayle.

So. My favorites are Fabulous Smile and Light.   I see you in those two images.


Photos of Deb taken by Gayle
Dear Deb,
I have named
your photos as well, and it’s amazing that my favorite of YOU is the
one in which you are looking up.  Maybe we have spirituality in common,
and it is exemplified by that upward gaze.  You look so young, and so
pure in that one….
The photo of your hands is an important one.  You
are cradling the camera, and you are also holding onto yourself in a
very protective way.  Maybe it’s because I haven’t been very protective
of myself during parts of my life, that I appreciate that quality in
you.  Hearing you speak about making  a conscious choice to be more
contemplative in your life, and giving yourself the time for things like
Yoga, photography, reading, and so on, is inspiring to me.
The “So Slender You” photo is so pretty!!  Do you
ever think of yourself as pretty?  Because you most certainly are!  I
think that’s one of the really hard parts about allowing ourselves to be
photographed.  We have to face the reality of our age and our
vulnerability at seeing ourselves as (perhaps) others see us.
 I know
that for me, I feel younger on the inside than I look on the outside.
 Sometimes I even feel like that little girl that still gets excited
about big things, or feels sad about small things.  Do you ever feel
that way too?
You have a special ability to find the beauty in
things around you, and it is reflected in your radiant face.  The photo I
call “Deb” shows that natural smile and humor that is you!   I love
looking at the photos on your blog because of that.  Your photos are
breathtaking, but it’s your accompanying words that truly bring them to
life.  Seeing and reading your blog helps me to pause and to remember
that life is more than clock-watching, hurrying, and working. 
Today was very special, Deb.  Thank you for inviting

16 Replies to “I See You”

  1. What a wonderful idea, experience, result, and presentation. I bet you will inspire many others to do the same. You look mah-ve-lous. Congrats for stepping outside the comfort zone and totally making it work.

    1. Susan,
      I was inspired by someone else to try this and will do it again sometime. I hope you can try it, too. It's quite different from doing self portraits. Thanks for your kind remarks!

  2. This is WONDERFUL! Thank you for allowing me to peek into this beautiful and lovely(loving)experience. I may have to 'borrow' this idea and use with a group of photographer friends.

    (Second try! LOL)

  3. This is s uch an inspirational post. Seeing and being seen – are flip sides of the same coin. Somehow the 'seeing' part – for me – comes easy. The 'being seen' – is an endless work in progress. And – I love how you've culminated in a letter to one another. TERRIFIC!!!

    Looking forward to your guest post at Vision and Verb!

    1. Marcie,
      I really treasure your comments here. "Being seen" is a work in progress, indeed, as you said. It was amazing how nervous we both were, even though we've known each other for years.

      I always enjoy your Daily Practice posts, as well as all the lovely gals at Vision and Verb. I'm excited to be able to participate in that!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. What a wonderful series, heartfelt and genuine in both words and images – capturing the "you-ness" of a friend. And through the action, capturing the nature of your relationship with each other. Beautiful.

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