I'm learning a lot in the self portraiture class I'm taking, most of which I can't even put into words yet. But on the very simplest level, in only five days, something fundamental has shifted in the way I think about who I am physically in the world. It turns out, once you have even a small handful of pictures you really, really love, all the terrible pictures in the world are totally inconsequential (except possibly for their amusement value, which you can finally appreciate once you feel like they might not actually represent some concrete version of reality).
There's a lot of more important stuff turning up too--about the ways self-image plays into the possibilities we imagine for ourselves, and how the one-dimensional images of beauty we're fed might be holding us all back more than we know. In ways that are the furthest thing from shallow or self-indulgent: Like, the ways that limiting our images of what constitutes physical beauty might limit our imaginations in general. But as I said, I'm not sure I'm ready to tackle writing or talking about those deeper levels yet, so I trust you'll understand if all of that is somewhat incoherent.
Anyway, it's also incredibly inspiring to see the self-portraits of a large group of people, every one of whom is gorgeous. It's inspiring to see all the different ways that people are gorgeous. Seriously, if you hate every picture you have of yourself, I can't recommend highly enough that you take this class at some point. Really. Do the work--which is actually heavy-duty play--and it will change your ideas about what you look like. Quickly.
The biggest technical points I've realized this week are actually stupidly obvious: The more pictures you take (and this week, I've taken literally hundreds), and the faster you take them, and the less you think about them, the greater the chance that at least a few of them will be entirely kick-ass.