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Portraits of an aging blogger

Sparky by Male® 1

On the whole, I am not a confident man, especially about my looks or my body. This is slowly getting worse as I get older, and I move further away from an optimum version of my self-image that I never quite achieved, and is now beyond my reach for good. The background of that is typical, tedious, and not worth getting into, but the overall effect is that I generally hate seeing pictures of myself, as they tend to reinforce what I already think. I'm still curious to see them, though, because from time to time they turn out alright, and I get a glimpse of a version of myself that I don't loathe quite so much. Once in a while, a bit of external perspective makes me think there may be some promise left after all.

Sparky by Male® 3

Last month, I had a chance to meet up with a photographer/artist/restaurateur named Martin, or Male®, as he goes by on the internet, while he was in London. Martin had contributed some great photos to Pink Mince a while back. We'd never met in person before, and he wanted to photograph my tattoos. We got on well enough, so strolled around a bit one afternoon and caught a show at the Barbican the next day, during which he'd occasionally stop me for a few portraits. (If you know me well enough, you can identify the expression I make when I'm self-conscious but trying to look calm, cool, and collected regardless.)

Sparky by Male® 4

It's been startling to see the results as they've trickled onto his blog since then. While I still cringe a little at the site of myself, I don't actually dislike the composite portrait that is built up throughout the set. A little older, scrawnier, greyer than I'd care to see, but there's character there, and I tend to forget about that. It helps that Martin's skilled with a camera, and has chosen moments well. But that considered view from someone else who is seeing me with fewer preconceptions is refreshing. Maybe I'm not such a wreck after all?

Sparky by Male® 6

Ask me again when I'm tired or particularly frustrated and I may change my thoughts altogether, but at the moment I'll cling to a bit of good vibes. I spend so much time in my own head, where the outlook is often rather bleak, that it's a pleasant change of pace to look in from the outside. Thanks for the brief taste of self-esteem, Martin!

Sparky by Male® 2 Sparky by Male® 5 Sparky by Male® 7 Sparky by Male® 8

Comments (4)

1) Howard: I hate to say it, but I really don't care what you look like. You're a wonderful, kind, sweet and patient man who gives his time and creative force freely and generously. That's beautiful! (Aug 21, 2012 8:52 AM)

2) sparky: Thanks, Howard. As ever, that's really spectacularly nice of you. And honestly, that's a much better compliment. (Aug 21, 2012 9:46 AM)

3) dave s: I think what you've been honest enough to post about here is what a lot of us experience, perhaps especially in gay culture. I don't think that it's necessarily that, as the cliche would have us believe, we appreciate aesthetics more so, but perhaps because we can be a culture of exclusion, so what doesn't fit a narrow definition of something can be made to feel "other" in a negative way. For what it's worth, and I know that this is not why you posted the above, you are a sexy man, and more of us have to come to realize that physical attractiveness can truly come from more than one place. (Aug 22, 2012 12:58 PM)

4) Jennifer: I'm with Howard. And trust me, you are not a wreck! (Aug 25, 2012 6:07 PM)

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