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March 6, 2012: Aging

Last night, in photography class, the teacher put a photo I’d taken, of Hattie Schmidtkunz, 20, up on the classroom screen. One of the students then asked “Is that your daughter?” I said no, that I’m not old enough to have kids. It was one of those instances where, after, a billion other responses flashed through my mind.

I said what I said because I don’t see myself as having a daughter old enough as Hattie. Truth is, I’m old enough to have grandchildren. No, I just don’t see it. I don’t feel as old as I am until I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and realize that person is me. My self-portraits make me feel similarly.

There seems now to be a new wrinkle in my aging process. Now I’m discovering

what it’s like to be regarded as being older by others, in this case, the students in my photography class. I’m the odd one out, the supposed older woman who is taking photography as a hobby, so that I can get some nice family photos at Thanksgiving.

I’m not considered to be what I am, a writer/artist who’s taking this course because I’m currently obsessed with the relationship between words and images. No, I’m an antiquated being who, because she’s having a hard time with Photoshop, has been earmarked as being OLD, and therefore an artistic relic.

Having recently gotten a bad haircut has not helped matters any.

Add to this, I’m high maintenance. I’m always asking questions and pushing the teacher to provide me with more information. Would people be rolling their eyes if I was 23 and doing this? Hard to say.

We also live in a time when high fashion is idealized. The majority of pictures in the class have been of models, or students posing as models. As of yet, no one has gone into an old age home and taken photos of older people. Nor have I seen any photos of grandparents.

I’m frustrated because while I lack technical expertise, I have creative expertise. I remember being at a loss about what to photograph when I was younger. Now, I’m seeing everything in a new light. But no one wants to hear it. I badly want to talk about my portrait idea and how I attempted to distance myself physically from my work. I’ve gone full circle and now want to return to the body proper. For instance, I want to start taking pictures of my feet.

Ah, I have an idea for a photo to go with this dispatch. This is what it’s all about. Keep writing, keep taking pictures. Keep writing. Keep taking pictures. This seems to be today’s mantra.


Age takes its toll,
twenty-five cents at every major township.
My parents lied
when they said to me
It’s faster
To take the Interstate.

90. 3/7/12: Just this Once Take a Look at the Moon