Personal Project, Photography, The 100 Days Challenge

009/100 Days Project: Self Portrait Photography

This photo is for all the interactions we have that we may not always remember happened. This origami swan was made for me by a classmate from my school when I was in class 12. This classmate casually made an origami swan out of a scrap A4 paper during Tuesday afternoon chemistry laboratory class. I took a bright red A4 paper the next day to school, gave it to that classmate and that classmate was so excited to see the bright red paper. So a red origami swan was made during a Wednesday morning Physics laboratory class.

I have displayed it on my bookshelf for the last 5 years, even though that classmate and I were never really close friends. That’s the only memento from my school days I have displayed in the open, the rest are locked up in a cabinet in an attempt to forget how scarring my school – life was. And this classmate isn’t actually aware that I have preserved this swan for so many years.

After school, I have come to realise how grave the mindless day-to-day interactions can be. One word said, one remark passed, can have such a long lasting effect on people, on their self esteem, on how they see themselves for the rest of their lives.

Bullying in schools is disturbingly common, bullying about someone’s looks, someone’s clothes, their skin color. These remarks stay: they stay with us for years. They make it hard for us to believe compliments that come our way, they make us biased towards the false hideousness we feel towards ourselves.

I have recieved a compliment that sounded something like this: “I love your fingers, I love how delicate they look in that photo but how sturdily they are holding the camera.” It stayed on the periphery of my belief system, I couldn’t let that compliment in, but I refused to toss it away as well.

This has made me think time an again about how other people remember me. It will be arrogant to say that I have never said anything rude about anyone’s body or looks. It will also be harsh for me to say that I have never tried making someone feel good about themselves. It’s a gray area.

I am trying not to just see the darkness in this gray area. I’ve recieved compliments as well as negative remarks about my body. This photograph is for all the compliments about my body that I’m trying to let inside my head, inside my being.

© Sanchari Sen