why I post photos of myself

When I first started posting photos, I couldn’t really explain why I chose to do so except at a superficial level. I had an example in Hyacinth’s blog (the first sex blog I followed), and in particular the Boobday posts, in which other people submit their sexy (though not always bare) photos. Although I gave the matter a lot of thought, it wasn’t a particularly analytical process, which for me is unusual. I really didn’t know why I wanted to, just that I did. So I went ahead and started posting. It felt right and still does.

Now that I’ve been posting for a while, I have a little more insight into my motivations.

My body image has been somewhat out of sync with reality, and I definitely had self-esteem issues when I was younger, not all of which are completely healed. I tend to look for flaws in the mirror — but it seems that I look for beauty through the lens. And when I look for it, I start to find it. Without my ever having set about it deliberately, photography has become an exercise in mindfulness and gratitude for my body.

When I post the photos to my blog, I start to get a little bit of distance and see them more objectively. It’s even better when people comment, because they often draw my attention to things I didn’t notice or think of. I really enjoy getting those different perspectives.

I like to create and share beautiful images. I’ve always had an artistic eye but I’ve never had an outlet that I found so satisfying. I like line and form, proportion and balance, negative space. I like value contrast but not color contrast — I prefer black and white, and when working with color, I like an almost monochrome palette.

I’m also enjoying photography as a way of exploring my sensuality — on both sides of the camera.

Of course, it’s a bit of an ego stroke if someone finds me attractive. This, in conjunction with an internally motivated improvement of my opinion regarding my looks, which in turn is reinforced by my partner’s compliments, all act together with the result that I now actually feel sexy. I’ve never really felt that before — I never allowed myself to because of my (now defused) fear of sex. I feel like I’m now fully inhabiting my body in a way that I never have before.

Yet all of these things are things that I figured out after posting photos for the better part of 6 months. So what was the original motivation?

Simply that I wanted to, I think, and nothing more complex than that. But my understanding of that notion has deepened.

In an earlier draft of this post (which I’ve been trying to write for months), I wrote “I’m not an exhibitionist, but…” But then it was pointed out to me that posting the photos is a kind of exhibitionism. This simply hadn’t occurred to me; I didn’t identify with the term, which is sometimes defined as “a person who behaves in an extravagant way in order to attract attention.”  As a sensitive introvert, behaving extravagantly for attention is the polar opposite of how I behave. It can also be defined as public or semi-public exposure, and while I’m sharing the photos publicly, I’m taking them privately: I don’t want people’s eyes on me. I just wanted to put a few photos out there.

So, hi all. I’m Zoë and, I suppose, I’m a reclusive exhibitionist.

14 thoughts on “why I post photos of myself

  1. Loved your post and so much of what you wrote resonates with me. My self portraits have really helped my body image issues. Thanks for sharing your insight 🙂

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  2. Whether by word or image, an online presence requires a certain exhibitionism. While my topics are far removed from yours, I still find that I need to open the kimono a bit every time I put “pen to paper”, so to speak. If I may, I enjoy what you expose, as your situation turns positive and is ‘a good read’; Hy’s situation – and her public outing – makes me sad. You, keep it up!

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    1. Fair point – sharing and putting things out there requires a willingness to be seen, literally or metaphorically. It’s possible to blog without that exposure, but it’s impersonal – which is OK, but it’s a different thing.

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog. For all that I expose, there’s a lot more that doesn’t get said. I’m not the kind of person who would ever be accused of oversharing in real life, but the definition of TMI in the context of a sex blog is rather different than it would be anywhere else! There are some things that I may share if I feel comfortable with opening up further, and other things that I’d like to share but the time isn’t ripe for other reasons. But yeah, I’m lucky in a lot of ways, and for that I’m deeply grateful.

      As for Hy, has she been outed? I was aware of a threat of sorts some time ago, but has something else happened?

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      1. No, this was last year (?); but the gist of it was that some random reader decided she needed to come clean with/about The Neighbour or some such thing, or else… I’m no longer sure how it all played out but I felt like I was a spectator to abuse, and was powerless to step up.

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        1. OMG, my heart was pounding! The update is that nothing happened. My critic has left me (and my life) alone as far as I know. I’m sorry you felt helpless to read all that I went through; it was awful for me, too. Thanks for your support, though 🙂

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          1. I’m so glad to hear that!! Funny how easy it is (for me) to get involved in the lives of others; to view their experiences vicariously, empathetically. I’m probably not well built for social media ☺️

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  3. Oh, I missed this while I was on holiday, but glad I just found it. I completely understand your points about seeing yourself differently through the lens than in the mirror and it’s something I’ve definitely experienced through Exposing 40 too, as have my friends who are getting involved. Xx

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    1. The lens/mirror dichotomy is quite interesting, and it took a while for the differences in perspective to start to become clear. It the mirror objectively unkind? Or is it more that we use mirrors everyday and one of the things we use them for is to judge ourselves? Perhaps the fact that we use cameras less frequently is enough to shake up the thought processes. Though now I’m wondering about whether the ubiquity of selfies will change that effect…

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