Whatcha Lookin’ At?

There are years of my life where I don’t exist. At least, in terms of photographs.

I don’t think of myself as particularly photogenic, and I actually hate having my photo taken; I feel self-conscious and awkward, so I tend to avoid it — which means that there are long stretches of my life where the only photographic proof that I’m alive comes in group shots, or candids from an event I’m at, or whatever. The only photo of myself that I saw in 2018, for example, is from the weekend where I was an Eisner Awards judge, and we posed together at the end of it all.

To make matters worse, or at least more complicated, post-divorce, there are group photos or shots of myself that I either don’t have access to, or don’t even exist anymore. Entire years where there’s no me, now.

(On the plus side, I barely changed visually, so it’s not like anything special has been lost to history.)

Beyond that, though; at some point, I stopped really taking photographs. I used to, voraciously. And then, somehow, I stopped. You could read all manner of reasoning into why that happened, I certainly have, but the fact remains: I just… stopped. There comes a point where it’s as if I ceased to exist, both as object and as viewer.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot, lately; you’ll have noticed I’ve been posting old photos on here more, lately. It’s made me realize that I should start taking more photographs, again. Not just of myself — God, no, not that — but of everything. Recording life as it’s happening, so that I don’t lose it years later to misremembering and outright forgetfulness. Keeping a history of my existence, both how I look(ed), which I’ve never been good at, but also what I’m looking at.

I’ll thank myself later.

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