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."

MORE WRITINGS OF SUSAN DEMERSSEMAN CAN BE READ AT HER BLOGSPOT

http://sogoodwithwords.blogspot.com

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Portrait of Wendy, Richmond, California October 2018
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Portrait of Wendy, Richmond, California October 2018
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Portrait of Wendy, Richmond, California October 2018
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Portrait of Gloria, Richmond, California May 2017
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Portrait of Gloria, Richmond, California May 2017
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Portrait of Gloria, Richmond, California May 2017
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Portrait of Gloria, Richmond, California May 2017
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Gray Hair Fashion, Oakland, California August 2013
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Karen Monroe
Berkeley, California May 2013
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Karen Monroe
Berkeley, California May 2013
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Karen Monroe
Berkeley, California May 2013
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Karen Monroe
Berkeley, California May 2013
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Karen Monroe
Berkeley, California May 2013
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Karen Monroe
Berkeley, California May 2013
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Karen Monroe
Berkeley, California May 2013
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Karen Monroe
Berkeley, California May 2013
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Julie
Richmond, California March 2013
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Julie
Richmond, California March 2013
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Donna
Richmond, California February 2013
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Donna
Richmond, California February 2013
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Donna
Richmond, California February 2013
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Donna
Richmond, California February 2013
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Bari
Oakland, California January 2013
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Terry
Richmond, California December 2012
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Terry
Richmond, California December 2012
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Terry
Richmond, California December 2012
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Terry
Richmond, California December 2012
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Leslie
Emeryville, California November 2012
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Leslie
Emeryville, California November 2012
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Leslie
Emeryville, California November 2012
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Leslie
Emeryville, California November 2012
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Leslie
Emeryville, California November 2012
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Leslie
Emeryville, California November 2012
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Angela and Gina Scrivani of Warehouse 416
San Francisco, California May 2012
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Jonny
Berkeley, California March 2012
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Ami wedding support group
Berkeley, California February 2012
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Evelyn
Oakland, California February 2012
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Evelyn
Oakland, California February 2012
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Evelyn
Oakland, California February 2012
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Evelyn
Oakland, California February 2012
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Evelyn
Oakland, California February 2012
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Evelyn
Oakland, California February 2012
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Laura
Berkeley, California January 2012
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Laura
Berkeley, California January 2012
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Gretchen
Oakland, California December 2011
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Gretchen
Oakland, California December 2011
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Shirley
Oakland, California December 2011
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Nia
Richmond, California December 2011
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Nia
Richmond, California December 2011
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Nia
Richmond, California December 2011
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Susan
Berkeley, California December 2011
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Nancy
Berkeley, California December 2011
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Jan
Berkeley, California December 2011
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Mary as Master swimmer
Berkeley, California March 2012
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Rebecca
Berkeley, California October 2011
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Barbara in Mask
Berkeley, California October 2011
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Barbara with Wild Hair
Emeryville, California October 2011
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Dora in Mask
Emeryville, California October 2011
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Seble in Emeryville Marina
Emeryville, California October 2011
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Seble in Emeryville Marina
Emeryville, California October 2011
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Woman in Emeryville Marina
Emeryville, California October 2011
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Woman in Emeryville Marina
Emeryville, California October 2011
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Etta in Oakland
Oakland, California September 2011
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Starchild of Rapid City
Rapid City, South Dakota July 2011
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Lakota: Marina of Rapid City
Rapid City, South Dakota July 2011
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Anonymous Rapid City Hostess at Murphys
Rapid City, South Dakota July 2011
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Lakota: Dylan of Rapid City
Rapid City, South Dakota July 2011
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Fillmore Street shopper
San Francisco, California July 2011
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Gloria reclining portrait
Richmond, California July 2011
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Deborah
Berkeley, California July 2011
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Toni and Claudia
Albany, California July 2011
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Two Dancers on Telegraph Avenue: Anonymous and Luna Moon
Berkeley, California July 2011
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Julia and Debbie Vinograd
Oakland, California July 2011
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Woman in red hat
San Francisco, California June 2011
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Barbara and friend
Oakland, California July2011
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Delores and Linda
Oakland, California July 2011
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Sharon
San Francisco, California June 2011
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Lea
Berkeley, California July2011
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Lea
Berkeley, California July 2011
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Connee
San Mateo, California June 2011
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Tommi
San Mateo, California June 2011
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Linda
Berkeley, California June 2011
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Erma
San Mateo, California June 2011
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" Glenda "
San Mateo, California June 2011
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" Cheryl"
San Mateo, California June 2011
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Tommi
San Mateo, California June 2011
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Mrs Swann Portrait
San Mateo, California June 2011
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Tommi
San Mateo, California June 2011
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Elonda Sitting on the deck
San Mateo, California June 2011
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Sisters Connie and Marcia
Berkeley, California June 2011
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Sisters Connie and Marcia
Berkeley, California June 2011
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Kenneth
San Mateo, California June 2011
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" Billie "
San Mateo, California June 2011
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" LaTonya"
San Mateo, California June 2011
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Isela
San Mateo, California June 2011
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Elonda
San Mateo, California June 2011
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" Patricia"
San Mateo, California June 2011
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Al
San Mateo, California June 2011
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" Cheryl "
San Mateo, California June 2011
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" Ed"
San Mateo, California June 2011
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Tanisha
San Mateo, California June 2011
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" Cheryl "
San Mateo, California June 2011
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" Ed"
San Mateo, California June 2011
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Mildred
San Mateo, California June 2011
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" Connee "
San Mateo, California June 2011
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" Elonda"
San Mateo, California June 2011
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" Linda "
San Mateo, California June 2011
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" Dianna "
San Mateo, California June 2011
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" Billie "
San Mateo, California June 2011
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"Joan"
San Mateo, California June 2011
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" Glenda "
San Mateo, California June 2011
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" Erma "
San Mateo, California June 2011
Copyright Raymond Holbert 2017: Use of these images and or text is prohibited without permission from the author.

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