Wednesday, May 27, 2009

And I Spin

"There were 10 years when there were no photographs of me at all, between about 15 and 25. I mean they just don't exist. I got really good at avoiding a camera. Then I suppose when I made Caravaggio in 1985, they started to ask me to do photo shoots and I absolutely refused. One of the reasons I remember is that I wouldn't wear anybody else's clothes. It was very important to me to be photographed as what I thought of as myself. But you see the truth was at the time I wasn't really sure I had a self at all. And what I hadn't fully worked out yet, which I have since, is that there is no such thing as a self actually, and it's all up for grabs."

-Tilda Swinton from Another Magazine, Spring/Summer 2009

Over the past few months, I've been on a magazine buying streak. I distinctly remember my brother questioning why anyone would ever buy a magazine one time when we were in Barnes and Nobles years ago. At this point in time, I totally disagree. I like to look through them again (and again:), turn to the photo spreads for fashion inspiration, and re-read the best articles when I'm in another frame of mind. Hence the growing stack of glossies on my bedside table.

One of the best I've found recently is AnOther Magazine. I'm actually considering buying a subscription even though it only comes out twice a year and is quite pricey. There's just so much to enjoy...its a feast for the eyes with everything from fashion  photos to short stories. And then there's the kicker...this issue featured Tilda Swinton on the cover.  Every time I read a quote of hers, I find myself sitting and thinking it over, rolling it around in my head for a while.  I find her inspiring, not necessarily in terms of fashion, but because of what she says and the work that she does.  

Image From

And this finally brings me to the quote at the beginning of this post. I've been thinking a lot lately about the question of identity. I think Proust wrote something similar to Swinton's comment in Swann's Way. He discusses how social identity (or how we are perceived by others) is not necessarily what we want to project about ourselves. But I also think that personal identity is constantly shifting, not the intrinsic, stable, concrete thing that we want it to be: and therefore the self doesn't exist as one thing. My husband and I saw the Dalai Lama speak a few weeks ago at a football stadium near where we live and one of ideas that he stressed is that we are always changing, physically, emotionally psychologically, and socially, from moment to moment, throughout our lives. Nothing ever really stays the same...but I'm not sure if its an upward progression or evolution necessarily either. I suppose it all comes back to words, how we try to define ourselves, construct images of ourselves within a set of ideas so that we can present ourselves to others and create coordinates from which to understand both ourselves and the world around us (I think that's the most the word ourselves has ever been used in a sentence:) Sorry!). Even if we don't think that there's a self or one identity, we keep constructing it, don't we? Because that's a part of living and being a part of the world. Or is it?

I really don't know, but find all this incredibly fascinating to think about...especially because I do so enjoy finding and wearing interesting, unique clothes so much. And when I was writing this, I thought of some photos that I took of an outfit a few weeks ago. They remind me of this whole question of identity because in two of them I'm blurred, spinning, in motion...and I like the ambiguity of them...seeing an image of myself without clearly defined borders, that was taken in one specific moment. 

Dress: 70's vintage
Shoes: I Love Comfort


  1. Oh lovely pics! I love the dress and those awesome shoes :D

  2. spinning photos are the best! and that is a lovely dress on you!

  3. V. interesting post. I too am fascinated by the concept of identity (and have loved Tilda Swinton since she played Orlando--a story that really foregrounds issues of identity). Ultimately, I share this sense of identity as something that is shifting, elusive, unstable. I think I'm really influenced by performance theorists (like Judith Butler) when it comes to identity, esp. the notion that we are many selves (which Virginia Woolf seems to suggest in Orlando, too), that identity is a performance and clothing becomes the costume we wear to help us project a more coherent vision of our-selves? Anyway, great post...great photos. I love this sort of topic!


I'd love to hear your thoughts!