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Picture – by Karen

10 Mar

Reebok Thigh Girl

Pictures. There are a small handful that I see every day, some that I see every week, and an enormous number that pour out of the internet in a stream of pure novelty every waking hour of my life.

In my house I only have a few artworks, and all of them are by someone I know. Which just goes to show I guess, that I should get to know more artists, or that more of my non-artist friends should make art for me. Go on, I’ll pay! Or bake you something!

I find I see very little art I would like to buy, which may just be a result of living in expat Singapore, where a painting of a monk carrying a red parasol is considered unique and covetable.

This Reebok ad is featured on a huge shopfront in a mall I shop at weekly. I love it! I call her Reebok Thigh Girl, and she is my… ahem… fitspiration. *Jack Donaghy face of discomfort*. Speaking of Jack Donaghy and thighs, I am reminded of this Tina Fey quote, from Bossypants, which I will share with you now:

But I think the first real change in women’s body image came when JLo turned it butt-style. That was the first time that having a large-scale situation in the back was part of mainstream American beauty. Girls wanted butts now. Men were free to admit that they had always enjoyed them. And then, what felt like moments later, boom—Beyoncé brought the leg meat. A back porch and thick muscular legs were now widely admired. And from that day forward, women embraced their diversity and realized that all shapes and sizes are beautiful. Ah ha ha. No.

As far as taking pictures myself, I’m always conflicted by the desire to document more of my life and the sheer tediousness of getting meta in a flow-worthy moment, not to mention the post-production of uploading and editing (actually, who edits? but anyway…). When you live in Singapore, awesome photogenic things happen a lot, like this thing that happened to me Tuesday morning while I was drinking a cappucino:

When I’m on holidays, I usually do take photos. Which means I have disproportionate number of photos of magical locations compared to magical moments from every day life. But it does mean I get shots like this, which is one of my favourites:

For me it illustrates a sense of adventure, like in fairy tales when people would go off and “seek their fortune”. How I longed to seek my fortune! It always involved tying up some scant possessions in a kerchief, which dangled jauntily from the end of a long stick (“pole”), and marching off over a green and gently rolling hill. Actually if anyone can find an illustration of that, I would love to see it again.

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Picture – by Tabitha

7 Mar

I’m not really very au fait with stuff on the internet. There would only be about half a dozen sites that I go to regularly. Every now and then I stumble upon new sites that are completely amazing, and the experience leaves me overwhelmed by how many things there are out there in the world that I want to buy, and how many people there are whose lives I’m jealous of, and how many fascinating things are going on that I don’t know anything about, and how many more amazing sites just like this probably exist on the internet.

So I scurry away, afraid, of both myself and of everything out there, and back to the reassuring, comfort of my half-dozen regular sites.

One of those sites is Pinterest, which I only know about because my friend Jo, who is totally down with what the cool kids are doing on the internet, showed it to me. I like Pinterest because you get to look at pictures of pretty things, collected by people whose tastes you share, without suffering the anxiety that comes with trawling the internet finding these things for yourself. I like that it’s not editorialised; that I can simply enjoy a picture of a cake without having to know that it was made by some attractive hipster who lives in Brooklyn and has a better kitchen than me, decorated with vintage Le Creuset cookware.

For example, here is a chair that someone pinned, which I then repinned because I think it’s pretty:

Now, if I were to make the mistake of clicking through to the site where that chair picture comes from, I would have to read this:

“Give Ercol chairs a makeover with a daring fabric. The floral pattern is a nod to a bygone era, while the intensely saturated colours give it a modern twist. Use the same fabric for the cushions, but in a contrasting colourway to complete this Granny-chic look.”

I then I would have to stab both my eyeballs with knitting needles, which could probably be described as a very Granny-chic way to die.

Instead, I’ll let someone else visit that site, find this nice chair, and then wait for them to put it on Pinterest so I can look at it with both my eyeballs fully intact.

But Pinterest is not an entirely anxiety-free experience. The fact that you can outsource the gathering of all these pretty things to other people reiterates just how totally, alarmingly predictable your tastes are. You see laid before your very eyes how you have no unique preferences or ideas about style or beauty or even food, at all. You’re just following trends that have been surreptitiously laid out for you by the trend-making machine.

I know this notion of how fashions come about isn’t novel, but I still find it really astounding. It’s like the trends in baby names: how everyone, simultaneously and en masse, comes up with a great baby name that no-one else is using and then, what do you know, everyone in your child’s kindergarten class is called Isabelle.

I feel that living in Vietnam, and not being an effective user of the internet, I should be well-placed to have preferences and tastes that are outside of, and unaffected by, the signals that feed into the creation of trends. For example, when I was thinking about what flowers to have in my wedding bouquet and on my headpiece thingy, I was drawn to dahlias. If I trace back this idea to its origin, I believe it was prompted by the cycling florists here who sell these enormously tall bunches of ridiculously bright dahlias. When I first saw them, I didn’t even know they were dahlias, and I hadn’t really seen them before except looking scraggly and tied to stakes in some Blue Mountains front gardens.

At the time, Pinterest was telling me that peonies were the flower du jour, and indeed, wedding sites were all peonies peonies peonies. I was concerned, since I was bucking the trend, that I might not even be able to find dahlias in Sydney for the wedding.

Ha dee ha ha ha. You have never seen so many people buying so much of the one type of thing in your life as we saw people buying dahlias the day we shopped for wedding flowers. Dahlia motifs are now on everything, everywhere. On Pinterest I have seen separate tutorials going around for how to make a dahlia out of felt, and out of paper, and out of crepe paper, and how to crochet a dahlia. If I were to subject myself to looking at a wedding website, I am 100 percent certain it would all be dahlias dahlias dahlias.

I’m left with the feeling that I am no more than a predictable, walking cliche, free of all autonomy of thought. But that’s fine, because we all are.

I’d like to finish with a list of current trends that I was already unintentionally adhering to prior to realising they were trends:

Tribal

Chevron

Maps

Frame clusters

 

Those are probably dahlias in that vase.

Several pictures are worth several thousand words – by Beth

6 Mar

Dear ladies. I’m trying to work out this whole editing thing for my radio doco project, so I’m using this topic to play around. Hope you don’t mind.

I wanted to tell a story using photographs and the ones that had the most back-story are photos of these houses I’ve known.

First is the house that belonged to my Dad’s parents in Waipukurau, New Zealand.

Second is the house I spent the first eight years of my life in.

Lastly is the house I lived in with my parents, maternal grandparents and great aunt and uncle from 1986 to 1991.

Hope you are nosey like me and enjoy peeking into people’s photo albums.