Sunday, August 31, 2008

nonself portraits

This is a picture of me.

Or maybe it's a picture of my brother. My parents say it's me, but it was in with a bunch of pictures from the winter after my brother was born; and in any case one baby looks pretty much like another.

This is a picture of me.

Now the likeness is clear: the hopeful expression, the lopsided smile, the vast enthusiasm about food. But they say that every cell in our bodies changes at least every seven years, so in what sense is this eager little being me?

This is a picture of me.

It's from my days in a medical imaging lab. I liked to volunteer for scanning sessions in the MRI units; I found the confined spaces restful. This is from my very first session. The guy who was using me to test imaging protocols gave me some snapshots as souvenirs. I'm sure it's me in this picture; I remember the jokes I was cracking as I was strapped into the helmet. And yet, where is there any me-ness in this photograph? Looking at this image, do you say, "That anterior cingulate cortex is sooooo Rachel"? You have now gotten inside my head in the most literal way--and what is it that is there? Some mushy material of varying densities and textures.

This is a picture of me.

Well, not exactly. It's a picture taken from a fortuitously flattering angle at a party where I'd made a special effort to get all dolled up. It's also been edited to take out red-eye and to even out my complexion.

This is a picture of me.

Actually it's a photo of me fed into the aging simulator at
This isn't how I look--yet.


Kevin Beck said...

Thanks for posting this link. What a fun site.

PS: I love the "Which Buddhist Personality Type Are You."


chris sivewright said...


dianedebaun said...

Thanks Rachael, I am thoroughly entertained in an original way by you!