personal project | measuring up

To determine the age of a tree, first find it’s diameter . . .

made to measure

I thought I’d be over it by now — the need to be a certain size. I nearly am. Coming to love the fullness of this body at this age.

a measure of recognition

I thought I’d be done trying to measure up to expectations. I nearly am. Life is not a contest, at least I don’t think so. But if it is, I’m happy enough to walk away and forfeit the game.

every season of every year of your life

Thank you to poet Holly Wren Spaulding for introducing me to this passage from Walt Whitman in her recent letter (and really, please read Holly’s work and consider subscribing to her letters, you will not be disappointed).

"This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body."

These photographs are the silent lines of poetry.

Notes on the making of the project:

I brainstormed ideas for how to convey the concept of what it feels like to be measured.

Recently, I heard a radio commercial for a local business, a kind of medical spa, that specializes in bio-synthetic hormone replacement for menopausal women. At the conclusion of the advertisement, the announcer exclaimed, “so if you want to be skinny, sexy and sane in 2019, head on over . . . “

Women are subjected on a daily basis to an overwhelming diet culture. Of course, we are measured in ways other than size, too - as if we are in some permanent version of school where our worth is tested and graded.

I shared my three favorite versions of this photograph. They are slightly different tones allowing for options to fit into the overall project.