PORTRAITS

PICTURE WOMEN

BY

SUSAN DEMERSSEMAN

My husband, Raymond Holbert, is a photographer. A chronicler of street activity and the keeper of a wonderful website of people and places. His camera is always with him and so when we're together he is often taking pictures of the people we encounter. Some we already know and some we just meet. My occasional and informal job is art director especially when women are the subjects. It's surprisingly consistent. The men couldn't care less and the women often complain about looking terrible in pictures. The bit of attention to the lighting or the stray strand of hair standing up in the wind often makes for a better photo. And if the women are a bit older and they complain about their saggy neck or the bags under their eyes, I share my strategies for "hiding the waddle" and for making those bags disappear with a big smile.

A little bit of beauty pageant and modeling in my youth taught me how to look the best in pictures. And for most of my adult life I have wished that I looked as good as my pictures. The consistency of women from all backgrounds saying, "I look terrible in pictures." is as remarkable as the fact that I have never heard one of the men my husband photograph say that. They just stand there without self-consciousness. Women of almost every age and profession express the opposite.

I sometimes think that we have come so far in our gender equality quest, but the lack of it is abundantly apparent in these impromptu photo sessions. The fact is the culture still expects so much more of women in terms of appearance and even women who are college professors, corporate managers, doctors and lawyers all seem to apologize for not being able to produce a good looking image.

Then I wonder, Is it all cultural, all societal? Maybe we come that way. Maybe even the day after everything is "equal." We will still want a photograph that depicts the best image of ourselves that we hold in our minds. Is vanity so much part of us? I'm afraid that it is still too much part of me and I now meet with some distress the many photographs that look so much like me. Being captured in that way is a bigger deal than it used to be and I am grateful for digital photography that now frees me from the chore of tearing up all the unpleasant photographs of myself. Now with just a click of the computer key I can destroy most and keep a dwindling few that look like "me."


Gray Hair Fashion, Oakalnd, California August 2013

MORE WRITINGS OF SUSAN DEMERSSEMAN CAN BE READ AT HER BLOGSPOT

http://sogoodwithwords.blogspot.com

Karen Monroe
Berkeley, California May 2013
Karen Monroe
Berkeley, California May 2013
Karen Monroe
Berkeley, California May 2013
Karen Monroe
Berkeley, California May 2013
Karen Monroe
Berkeley, California May 2013
Karen Monroe
Berkeley, California May 2013
Karen Monroe
Berkeley, California May 2013
Karen Monroe
Berkeley, California May 2013
Julie
Richmond, California March 2013
Julie
Richmond, California March 2013
Donna
Richmond, California February 2013
Donna
Richmond, California February 2013
Donna
Richmond, California February 2013
Donna
Richmond, California February 2013
Bari
Oakland, California January 2013
Terry
Richmond, California December 2012
Terry
Richmond, California December 2012
Terry
Richmond, California December 2012
Terry
Richmond, California December 2012
Leslie
Emeryville, California November 2012
Leslie
Emeryville, California November 2012
Leslie
Emeryville, California November 2012
Leslie
Emeryville, California November 2012
Leslie
Emeryville, California November 2012
Leslie
Emeryville, California November 2012
Angela and Gina Scrivani of Warehouse 416
San Francisco, California May 2012
Jonny
Berkeley, California March 2012
Ami wedding support group
Berkeley, California February 2012
Evelyn
Oakland, California February 2012
Evelyn
Oakland, California February 2012
Evelyn
Oakland, California February 2012
Evelyn
Oakland, California February 2012
Evelyn
Oakland, California February 2012
Evelyn
Oakland, California February 2012
Laura
Berkeley, California January 2012
Laura
Berkeley, California January 2012
Gretchen
Oakland, California December 2011
Gretchen
Oakland, California December 2011
Shirley
Oakland, California December 2011
Nia
Richmond, California December 2011
Nia
Richmond, California December 2011
Nia
Richmond, California December 2011
Susan
Berkeley, California December 2011
Nancy
Berkeley, California December 2011
Jan
Berkeley, California December 2011
Mary as Master swimmer
Berkeley, California March 2012
Rebecca
Berkeley, California October 2011
Barbara in Mask
Berkeley, California October 2011
Barbara with Wild Hair
Emeryville, California October 2011
Dora in Mask
Emeryville, California October 2011
Seble in Emeryville Marina
Emeryville, California October 2011
Seble in Emeryville Marina
Emeryville, California October 2011
Woman in Emeryville Marina
Emeryville, California October 2011
Woman in Emeryville Marina
Emeryville, California October 2011
Etta in Oakland
Oakland, California September 2011
Starchild of Rapid City
Rapid City, South Dakota July 2011
Lakota: Marina of Rapid City
Rapid City, South Dakota July 2011
Anonymous Rapid City Hostess at Murphys
Rapid City, South Dakota July 2011
Lakota: Dylan of Rapid City
Rapid City, South Dakota July 2011
Fillmore Street shopper
San Francisco, California July 2011
Gloria reclining portrait
Richmond, California July 2011
Deborah
Berkeley, California July 2011
Toni and Claudia
Albany, California July 2011
Two Dancers on Telegraph Avenue: Anonymous and Luna Moon
Berkeley, California July 2011
Julia and Debbie Vinograd
Oakland, California July 2011
Woman in red hat
San Francisco, California June 2011
Barbara and friend
Oakland, California July2011
Delores and Linda
Oakland, California July 2011
Sharon
San Francisco, California June 2011
Lea
Berkeley, California July2011
Lea
Berkeley, California July 2011
Connee
San Mateo, California June 2011
Tommi
San Mateo, California June 2011
Linda
Berkeley, California June 2011
Erma
San Mateo, California June 2011
" Glenda "
San Mateo, California June 2011
" Cheryl"
San Mateo, California June 2011
Tommi
San Mateo, California June 2011
Mrs Swann Portrait
San Mateo, California June 2011
Tommi
San Mateo, California June 2011
Elonda Sitting on the deck
San Mateo, California June 2011
Sisters Connie and Marcia
Berkeley, California June 2011
Sisters Connie and Marcia
Berkeley, California June 2011
Kenneth
San Mateo, California June 2011
" Billie "
San Mateo, California June 2011
" LaTonya"
San Mateo, California June 2011
Isela
San Mateo, California June 2011
Elonda
San Mateo, California June 2011
" Patricia"
San Mateo, California June 2011
Al
San Mateo, California June 2011
" Cheryl "
San Mateo, California June 2011
" Ed"
San Mateo, California June 2011
Tanisha
San Mateo, California June 2011
" Cheryl "
San Mateo, California June 2011
" Ed"
San Mateo, California June 2011
Mildred
San Mateo, California June 2011
" Connee "
San Mateo, California June 2011
" Elonda"
San Mateo, California June 2011
" Linda "
San Mateo, California June 2011
" Dianna "
San Mateo, California June 2011
" Billie "
San Mateo, California June 2011
" Joan "
San Mateo, California June 2011
" Glenda "
San Mateo, California June 2011
" Erma "
San Mateo, California June 2011
Copyright Raymond Holbert 2011: Use of these images and or text is prohibited without permission from the author.

CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO THE HOME PAGE