Recently I came across a picture that my brother took of me when I was about sixteen. It is obviously an art shot, with the light coming in over my right shoulder. My brother went on to become a professional photographer, and I think you can see his future indicated in the composition and lighting skills on display here.
But that was then. In a brave experiment, I asked my husband to take a shot of me today in a similar pose. I wanted to examine the changes forty-seven years have wrought on my face. No special lighting or makeup, just the face I have now. What’s the same? The nose and ears are easily recognizable, and the short hair, too. In my high school days, I used to straighten my curly hair with gels and rollers. (Does anyone else remember Dippity Do?) These days, I dye my hair but otherwise leave it alone.
Although I think anyone would recognize me as the same person, an awful lot has changed. My lips have gotten thinner and my eye lids droppy. My neck looks thicker, although that might that be in part due to the angle. My skin, once smooth, is now textured with lines, furrows, and ridges. It is also discolored in places, evidence of a youth spent in the sun before we knew that sunscreen was important. But even though I’m doing a lot of reading on plastic surgery and sigh at this picture of my younger self, I think I’ll stick with the skin I’m in.