Saturday, February 14, 2015

These Pics

So, for a month I have been putting up pictures of myself, one a day.  The purpose for doing this was to try and break down the walls of the internet - to help separate myself from a grumpy voice writing posts and emphasize my humanity.  Before the internet, all my arguments with people were in person - and if they were unhappy with me, I was at least close enough that they could reach out and make that unhappiness known.

Off the internet, however, when we are arguing with a person, we can see pain, we can see when our points are making headway, we can see the moment in a listener's expression where they've lost our thread.  And we can adjust for that.  Here, however, we're all blind.  Most of the time, we can forget we're speaking to a human being because all we see is text.

I actually don't much like to see myself in pictures.  A picture emphasizes too many qualities about my appearance that I'm not fond of; and I've never thought a picture does me justice.  Pictures are too static, too unforgiving.  I am trying to get over this, however, because I want to stop being just a compilation of words.  I want to be a person.

I'm sure I'm making some readers uncomfortable.  I'm sorry for that.  But the reality is that what you're reading now is the physical, sometimes-less-that-attractive embodiment of someone real.  And I hope that being real helps a bit with my being less threatening.


This link.


Scott Driver said...

You're a reflective guy, you've teased out the pros and cons of posting personal pictures above and beyond what's addressed in the post.

I like you. I like putting a face to your voice. I like accepting the pics at face value and letting them deliver whatever benign psychological payloads they carry. It's cool that you put yourself out there. (I post everywhere as myself and am pleasantly surprised when others do too.)

I comment on the troll blog*. I regularly tell people there why I like you and your work, with the digest version of why, and why I think things like "the portrait" and other personal attacks are out of bounds. Believe it or not, the majority of trolls in this tiny niche are less likely to attack folks from whom they sense sincerity and honesty. Their meters for that may be miscalibrated.**

Caveat: I don't know that I'd ever post pics of my girlfriend without tolerance for the certainty that internet people will do what internet people do.

* If my commenting there makes me an actual party to that, I have my reasons and if you want to hear them, let me know.

** Again, if you ever find that discussion relevant, we can have it.

(I also have opinions about the various Venn circles of people who don't need pics to consider folks human, people who need pics, people who resent your humanity and use pics as confirmation, etc., but I doubt they'd be revelatory.)

Alexis Smolensk said...

Oh yes, I'm reflective.

I've come to a reconciliation with troll blog. I'm cool with what people do outside of my space.

Thanks, Scott.

Baron Opal said...

It is humanizing. It does take courage to do so, as well. But, alas, you cut your hair. Proper, given you are about to go job shopping, but still a bit sad if you weren't done with it yet. When I had to cut off my ponytail, I had my son play a dirge on his phone. At least it was for a good role, in my case.

Alexis Smolensk said...

The hair will return.

JB said...

I've really enjoyed your photos. I grok what you mean about the unforgiving nature of still shots, but the multiplicity of different pics, from different angles in different settings, help break that.

We all have physical, visual flaws (and continue to gain more as we age), but we tend to ignore these flaws in our associates as we gain familiarity, to the point that they hardly "register on the radar" unless we're trying to describe someone to a 3rd party. By putting your photos out there, your readers are simply moving to that same point of perspective where we cease to see "flaws" and just say "oh, it's Alexis."

Anyway, I think they've added a nice human element to the blog.