The Collective Picture

Vintage Photography Redefined

admin On September - 6 - 2010
1932 dorthy jordan beach Confessions of a Blog Worthy Mind…gender

1932, Dorthy Jordan on the beach

I am going to fess up to my failure to commit to this space, explain my lengthy absence and move forward, with or without whatever imaginary readers may still be lingering in the shadows.

When I started this space I had oodles of time, and I mean oodles, I was looking for work, searching for myself and generally lost in almost every way. I make no false claims to having ‘found’ that elusive direction but I have become busier, gainfully employed fulltime gobbles up major portions of my life leaving little space for the forgotten child that has become CollectivePic.com. Sadly this space has continued to exist in a stagnant form while everything else around me has evolved. It would have been ideal to keep in touch with this space, moving forward with this web site as my own life transformed, but I struggled to find the right tone to do this. I would construct posts that emulated what I would usually contribute to this space, then become frustrated and leave them unpublished. These forgotten writings and photo compilations were hidden away because I was never happy with them; they always felt forced and awkward because they were written to fit the previous tone of CollectivePic.com, a voice that represented a person that no longer existed.

This leads me to the question of transformation, and the process through which a person’s online identity evolves.

kate vaughan vaudeville theatre

1886, Kate Vaughan, Vaudeville Theatre

Finding ways to move past the baggage of old online identities, drunken Facebook photos and teenage ramblings included, is a complicated process. Often creating a world were separate personalities appear to exist simultaneously. My email accounts create this exact distinction; I still keep my old high school email, starrynight136, which is a completely separate space from my ‘adult’ account ‘jenniferlwhyte.’ The difficulty of merging Hotmail with a Gmail account meant these two spaces had to be kept separate. It also created two worlds, a division that I think many people struggle with, as the multiple online identities we create begin to pile up. What we post, tweet, blog, digg, comment and otherwise interact with online puts a bunch of ‘stuff’ out in the world that remains long after the person that put them there has evolved into something else.  These chips of past deeds and the impact they have could be mediated by censoring the self we put out there. We could work to ensure only a watered down person is presented so that there would be no striking contrast between past and present.

bonne fete girl with book

1912, post card of young girl holding a book

But the idea of needing to ‘manage’ our online selves is more complicated then simply not putting things out there that may be sensitive, vulgar or generally having any sense of personality. Because it is this ‘personality’ the authentic, genuine at times offensive, emotionally poignant contributions to the web that pulls people in. Whether you are looking for tidbits of your online persona to go viral or simply trying to truly connect with other people the best way to do this is to write in a way that shows your true self even if it may be embarrassing, offensive and uncomfortable.

women plastic face protection

1939, women with plastic face protection

Presenting yourself in this most vulnerable way is important because all of these types of content breed intrigue, humor, empathy, and general interest from readers.  This need to place our personalities on the virtual table means we will always have some degree of conflict as we grow. If we honestly put our personality in a YouTube video, Blogger post or Flickr image, that person, although reflecting who you are at that moment, for better or worse, is likely to someday conflict with or be unsettling to a future self yet to be born.  Finding ways to be comfortable and even embrace this contrast is a necessary part of being able to write as ‘you.’

For now Collectivepic.com will continue to be a space where images are used to highlight key issues, but this will be done from a place that feels much more like me.  Whether this online self will seem awkward against the persona of CollectivePic.com that emerged a year ago or the person that is yet to be created is a question that I am excited to explore.  This ‘unknown’ will be plunged into with a confidence that is grounded in the fact that I still have things to say and pictures to post. Excitedly CollectivePic.com will be the happy home for the intersections between my interests in writing, photography, history, current events, online media and the million thought bubbles that burst with useless intrigue. On that note here are some images that never really had a home, I was hoping to unify them one day, but it seems more fitting to put them out there as is. Despite the lack of cohesion, these photos, like the multiple online personalities we create, can be shown side by side given new meaning despite and maybe because of the contradictions that surround them.

-J

women pistols sports Confessions of a Blog Worthy Mind…gender

1905. woman crying man cooing Confessions of a Blog Worthy Mind…gender

women cupid whisper

women tattoo 1900

geisha girls japan Confessions of a Blog Worthy Mind…gender

Image sources:

“1912, post card of young girl holding a book” Credit: Bourassa, Jean / Library and Archives Canada / PA-126794
Restrictions on use: Nil
Copyright:Expired. Canadian archives.

1934, Women with their pistols at the ready: ladies champions team of the Missouri University shooting club. http://www.flickr.com/photos/nationaalarchief/3333357823/

“1900, women getting tattooed.”  By William M. Vander Weyde (1871–1929). George Eastman House Collection. Accession Number: 1974:0056:0523

“1886, Kate Vaughan, Vaudeville Theatre” Kate Vaughan as Lady Teazle in School for Scandal at the Vaudeville Theatre. W&D Downey Photographers http://collections.vam.ac.uk/objectid/O142908

“Geisha girls, Bain News service, publisher.” George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress). CALL NUMBER: LC-B2- 4244-8[P&P]

“1908, cupid’s prank” – Scene 1. Library of Congress. Motion picture still by the Edison Manufacturing Co. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3b24998

“1939, Plastic face protection from snowstorms” Canada, Montreal. Nationaal Archief.

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Categories: gender, women

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