Currently Workbook Self Portraits 2019-2023
a way to mark the passage of time + hair styles
I found a picture of my Mom last year while cleaning a paper pile. She’s in her late 40s holding a little crocodile (alligator?) with my Aunt Michelle.
Hi Bev! I also have a picture of her with an Ewok, Charo, Huey Lewis (not all at once), a picture of her dressed up as Wonder Woman, and one of her being handcuffed to a cop. Bev was a force and a true delight. You can see why I miss her so much.
I have scanned every inch of her hairline in this photo and the one below to see if she had the Paulie Walnuts streaks of gray like I do now. It’s hard for me to find a good picture of her gray because she never let it go past an inch. Bev was alive during the time of hair mascara, thank God. I appreciated her infomercial sales pitch to get me to cover up grays when I was ready.
I think she would have looked cool all gray. Shoutout to her awesome eyebrows that stayed this color until she died at 71.
I wonder how she would feel about me going gray? I love my gray streaks. They fascinate me!
I wish I had the foresight to inspect hers.
Now that I am the family historian, piecing together what she looked like at every age puts me in frustrated archeologist mode. Sometimes it’s fun. Sometimes I feel guilty about tossing vacation photos of historic sites I can google. It’s kind of exhausting and super emotional. She did not label things and there is no order.
What I do know is that she did NOT like having her picture taken. We always disagreed about what photo captured her essence. I got too close with my camera and she didn’t like that. She would do this fake laugh thing to get herself to smile and BOY DID IT BUG ME.
sidenote: this is why I prefer to take pictures of food over people.
Above, we have a woman being told to smile while her husband picks at the food she prepared for the 15 people waiting at the table to eat. Her face is saying “ DID YOU GET IT? CAN I GO ON?”
This photo is how I remember her in childhood. Rushed and frantic but happy (to have her pups under the same roof). This is how her hair was for most of her life. A brunette bob with golden streaks. She’d make you pet her hair so you could feel how soft it was.
She would have been glad she didn’t have her apron on in this photo. Hooray for that.
My Currently Workbook came from grief. The grief of wanting to know more about my Mom and the sadness that she didn’t have more information for me to find. She had calendars and journals filled with lists of books she read (which I’ll share here this year!) but even with that, there was so much that didn’t get accounted for. I am still learning about her and suppose I always will.
In 2019, I released my first workbook which was an extension of a column on my blog (shutterbean) and inspired hundreds of people to log a year of their lives with me. Mothers have been doing it with their daughters. Friends and sisters have been working on theirs together. Teenagers are doing it (WHICH IS MY DREAM!). We have a private Facebook group to share pages. I love it!
This is the kind of magic my Mom would have been happy to be part of.
I turned the back of the workbook into a self-portrait project so I could be intentional about how I wanted future Tracy to see present Tracy.
What one photo could sum up a feeling/mood/theme for each month?
It was a way for me to practice being in photos and actually printing them. It also provided me with data on how much both my hair and handwriting have changed over time. After 5 years of this project, WE HAVE REAL DATA.
Did you see the video above? Let’s dive deeper into my pages.
This is who I was in 2019 when we started.
I can see there were trips. My niece was living in California and we went on a family trip to Italy.
Ooooh but then we have November 2019…