Things that define Me: a Self portrait

For my self portrait I wanted to examine things about myself that some people might not notice right away, or at all when they look at me. The following images are for the most part macros or tightly cropped images of parts of me that are definitive. Beneath each image is a description to help viewers understand why I photographed each subject.

Cat Eye

I have a birthmark in my right eye. My brother and sister too had this birthmark but as they grew up the birthmark faded. I am the only child who’s birthmark has remained throughout. Most people don’t notice it right away, and after months, even years of knowing me they’ll figure it out.  My most common reaction after noticing it is “What is WRONG with your EYE?!” or my personal favorite “Is your eye BLEEDING?!” Nope. None of the above. Just something that I was born with and makes me unique. Some people call it my cat eye. Maybe I’ll get lucky and have 9 lives.

Hidden Reflection

This is actually an image of my husband, Chester’s eye. Although it is not an actual part of me, I believe that my husband is a significant part of my life and shapes who I am. I also thought that this image was interesting because you can actually see me taking the photograph inside the pupil of his eye which is an interesting parallel.


Freckles. I am full of them. My mom would always say that I looked happiest when my face was so full of freckles you could barely make out my pale skin underneath.  I love the outdoors and in the summer my freckles are even more vibrant.  A lot of people don’t like their freckles but mine make me proud. I think they are beautiful and it adds one more thing that I consider unique about myself.


I am tongue-tied. I was born with a shortened frenulum, which is the thin band of tissue beneath your tongue. Usually at infancy parents can decide to snip this so that the child can use their tongue to the full extent. My mom chose not have this done, which didn’t pose any threat or developmental issues. During high school I asked my doctor what I would have to do to have it correct as an adult and she recommended to leave it, as I would probably have to go into speech therapy to learn to form certain vowel and word formations all over again. Feeling like it was more work than I wanted to do, I decided that I would simply deal with a tongue which I can’t stick out further than my lips. For the longest time I could not blow bubbles with gum, but after a lot of Bubbalicious  gum and several months of practice this past year, I taught myself how!

Ah, to be young

I am married, and married young. I’ve noticed that after new people meet me they make a snap judgment about the fact that I was married at 19.  (No, I wasn’t pregnant) Some people understand the commitment and love that I have for my husband, and others place judgment and have doubts.  I used to struggle with this social boundary that has been put into place for me, it used to be normal for younger people to get married, but today, most people consider this a serious mistake.  Regardless of how people feel about it, I am married, and happy.  So that is what counts.

6 Replies to “Things that define Me: a Self portrait”

  1. beth says:

    char, i love you and chet and this blog 🙂

  2. Criley says:

    I have the same birthmark but mine is darker almost black and goes diagonal I get the same replys. Love yur article 😉

    • Gnome Photo says:

      Just recently I found out the technical/medical term for this birthmark but it escapes me now! If I ever remember I’ll let you know!

  3. wendy says:

    I have a cat eye as well but on my left eye and am the only one in my family that has it

  4. Dianne Clarke says:

    I am amazed. I have the same birthmark in the same location in the same eye. Only my eyes are brown. Mine has the same “little arms” at the top. When my pupil is dilated you do not see them as the pupil covers them. Never in my life have I seen anyone with one like it. I’m 38 now and in my whole life about four people have noticed it. I actually came across your blog because I did a google image search for eye birthmarks. It’s not the same as a nevi.

    • Gnome Photo says:

      🙂 Funny how people can go a lifetime without noticing it! Glad to know I’m not the only one out there! Thanks for stopping by Dianne!

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