Right before my twenty-sixth birthday, I had a MELTDOWN. I realized that a quarter of a century had already passed me by, and I just wasn't where I thought I would be by twenty-six. Right around that time I read an article about Lucy Hilmer, an artist who has been photographing herself every year on her birthday since 1974. Her 'Birthday Suits' project was inspiring. The idea of having a visual history of my life through images was really empowering. While I might not ever be where I thought I would be by a certain age, I will be able to look back and see the coordinates of my life, watch myself age, and most importantly, become more comfortable in front of the camera.
Each year I choose a theme for my Birthday Project, and I spent most of my 27th year convinced I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the next theme - my favorite Beyoncé song, 'Grown Woman'. There's just something about the age of twenty-eight that seems powerful and strong, like settling into womanhood. It also came at a time where, now more than ever, it is critical for women to be strong and united, to continue to strive towards equality, and to maintain the rights that our fore(mothers) fought for. While Beyoncé might not be the best role model, I love the notes of feminism in her music, and I love that song.
However, as my 28th birthday was approaching, I just wasn't feeling the 'Grown Woman' theme anymore. Yes, I realize that I am not Beyoncé (sadly), but I had an amazing group of women ready to help me style and photograph the theme. It would have been pretty fabulous. But more than anything, I wanted to pare things back. I especially wanted to challenge myself and photograph this year's project on my own. So I settled on a simpler theme: black, pink/purple, and a hint of 1960's glam. The process was both fun and challenging, and I'm pretty pleased with the results.
So, today, I'm kicking off my twenty-eighth year feeling like a grown woman: strong, confident, and ready, with both eyes open. Bring it.
A big thank you to my darling boyfriend Dan for the gift of a remote shutter release and the use of his new, empty apartment, and to Eva Miere, my dear friend and fabulous/incredibly talented makeup artist.