Self-Portrait #7: Environment

Blog 8 11 x 14 Childhood TV To me these two photographs are as much about my environment as they are about me. Life was simpler in our Richmond, Vt. home where I lived until I was nine years old. Our house was smaller and so was our family. My younger two siblings would not be born until we moved to Bethel.  My parents built a kit home in Richmond, where Mom would let me color on the walls for entertainment and then would repaint over them when she saw fit. My brother and I entertained each other because there were not too many other kids around. The T.V. was my salvation providing endless hours of amusement. I would soak in what I saw there and continue the stories during playtime so that I became a captain on the Starship Enterprise, Isis, or a member of Josie and the Pussycats. I also loved the consistency of television – weekly shows, where characters could be counted on to act in predictable ways. They became steady friends. I would repeat the story lines to my grandmother and she would play with me for hours recreating them. I know nowadays people worry about children watching too much television, but it opened doorways of imagination for me and I still love it.

We didn’t have as much money or as many members in the family when we lived in Richmond, so the house was filled with less. This picture from my childhood captures me in these surroundings. You can see the walls are bare, the T.V. representative of the seventies as is my orange jumpsuit. My brother Johnny is the toddler on the floor. I don’t remember my outfit or that expression. I can’t tell what my child self might have been thinking. I like that she looks confident as if she owns the room.

The adult photograph shows my living room today, and no surprise the T.V. takes center stage. The room is larger. Art adorns the walls. My constant companion today is my pug Alfie. My eyes are the same as the little girls, my haircut similar. I am more familiar with my expression here. I can, however, see that girl turning into me, there is a similarity in our stance; the way we look into the camera. I am less certain here than she is; she is less encumbered. As the photographer in the second picture I need to ensure I get the shot right. My younger self seems to be staring at whoever is taking her picture with the flair of a celebrity asking, did you get that? It’s almost as if she walked out of range and 40 years into the future finding the room transformed. She would like that notion; it’s something that might have happened on the Enterprise.

Blog 8 11 x 14 Adult TV copy