September 7, 2017


As an art student I developed an immense appreciation for the human body. In life drawing classes I realized I could find much beauty in the "atypical", "flawed", "unique" bodies of the life models. Through my propensity for art, I value the capturing of "imperfection" in human faces. Crooked noses, textured skin, body hair, scars. I see these in others and love it all.

I use these words: flaw, imperfection, atypical, in quotes, because they are not really how I see them at all. They are unfair descriptors and show just how skewed our perception of beauty is. But what else is new. We all know that in our social context, these are how these traits are seen and described.

As much as I can more easily accept and embrace these traits in the photos and depictions of others, earlier this summer I realized that I still have unrealistic expectations of myself. I see a photo of me and I don't settle for "imperfection". I don't embrace the deep purple circles under my eyes. I don't like the fact that one eye seems droopy in some photos. I don't want to keep photos where my smile is so big you can see funny shadows in my smile. I cringe at photos of my profile. The way my neck and chin look as I gain a bit of weight. This isn't how I feel about myself in real life - but the more photos I see of myself that I don't like, and the more I try to engage in an online world where photos of the self are aplenty, the more my feelings of "imperfection" seep into my day-to-day, outside of photos. I think part of this started when I decided to stop wearing make-up all together. I don't like the feel of makeup, but I stopped liking photos of myself without makeup for a while. I love photos and photography, so this made me feel pretty badly.

So I decided to do something about it. Throughout this summer I have taken photos of myself immediately after I wake in the morning. First thing. Whatever my hair, face, and feelings were doing, I captured it. There is something psychologically empowering, I suspect, about choosing yourself as a subject worthy of photographing. And not just in selfies for instagram, but for my own artistic experiment. I felt excitement. I felt that I loved the photos even though I could see what I normally wouldn't like in myself. My fella got involved, whenever we woke up together, and his photos of me are my favourites. It became an act of self love every morning, and source of love and support from my partner. I've grown so much through this project and am surprised at how much it actually has helped me. At first, I made a point of not publishing the photos. This was a personal practice, a project just for me. How novel in our instagram obsessed world. But now that I've realized how much it impacted me, I want to share my experience.

Here is a small selection of my photos from this summer, and I will continue to post and share them here, as well as on my instagram account.


I want you to join me - if you'd like? Just once? Maybe twice? This was such a transformative project for me, I imagine it could be for others, too!

I want to see you embrace your unfiltered bedhead and I want to see you become reacquainted with your early-morning, natural self, in whatever form that may be. I don't want another hashtag-no-filter post or a phoney "I woke up like this" comment (though humorously that's exactly what this series is about, ha! The REAL "I woke up like this" type of photo). I want you to do it for you. And if you want to share it online, you can use the hashtag #ellbedhead or share the link to your post in the comments.

Go forth - beautiful bedheads!

ps. I'm nervous to post this because it is such a personal project and a personal experience. Also it's all just photos of me, taken by me.... boring? I don't know. I think it's worth it even if one other person tries this and gets something out of it though, right?

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