I can’t tell the difference between vanity and artistry.


The one I like the best.

I’ve written a lot about what posting pics online does for me, but very little about my vanity, my sad opting-in to what I think I should look like.

It’s never more obvious than on a morning such as this when I wake up feeling (and looking) bloated. There’s no menstrual excuse to speak of, I’m just thicker today.

And so I twist and stretch, find a good light, and all the while feel disingenuous. But then I also feel a little sexy when shadows and a soft glow become my allies and an image is created I feel good about.

Today, however, I’ll once again show you my two choices.

If I want to perpetuate self-acceptance and not a silly ideal, then it’s what I should do.  I shouldn’t perpetuate total unreality.

However, to my “artistic eye,” the first image is soft, smooth, the ideal.  The second shows all the dips and valleys of my abdomen, the little bumps on my areolas, it’s a harder image, not what I felt like sharing today.

I recognize that both have certain appeal, I’m just admitting to favoring the first because it hides more.  I’m confused over whether this really is vanity or just an artist’s eye, a preference.

I suppose it doesn’t really matter.

I also recognize that I come off as a complete idiot.  Both images are decent ones.  The biggest difference is how my insecurity applies a thicker layer of judgement to one of them.


Do my abs look weird to you, too?

Check out Sinful Sunday for more.

Sinful Sunday

82 thoughts on “I can’t tell the difference between vanity and artistry.

  1. I completely understand what you have written here. I never photoshop my images and always try to show an honest representation but there is an artist in me too and so there are times when I will turn them black or white (which can sometimes make them softer and blot out those wrinkles etc) but I don’t do it for that purpose I do it because in my eye it brings out something else in the image, something I am trying to say. I guess for me it is a balancing act between that art and my desire to show an honest image of myself.

    Oh and for the record I like the second image better. The top one is too grainy, the bottom one has a beautiful shadow on your left side (as you are looking at the image) that emphasis the curve of the waist line and the structure of your abdominal muscles. I am wondering what it would look like in black and white, I think it would make those shadows more powerful and remove the slightly distracting orange/green line that edges that shadow.


    • Thanks, Molly, I really appreciate your thoughts on this. I know I’m only in this little, tiny corner of the internet, but I take it seriously and I want to be as transparent as I can so that any woman who happens across me doesn’t think I’m anything more than an average woman, too, you know? I dunno – that didn’t come out right, either. I just want to be honest :)

  2. Your abs don’t look weird at all. An abstract for the two images – the first is soft and a blend of shadow and light, the second more sharp and full of definition through contrast. It’s somewhat like not wearing glasses when you have poor eyesight. So much can be missed when you’re not wearing them, both good and bad. But it seems to me, as a person that now wears glasses, the good outweighs the bad. In focus, you (and us, the viewer) can really SEE you. If you are I satisfied with that then you can have something to work on. But for me, that crispness, seeing YOU without the filter, makes you more real. It’s the difference in seeing a photo of art and seeing the actual piece in person. You’re beautiful. In both pictures.

  3. I don’t think it’s a problem wanting to share what you think is best. I like the artistry of the first photo a lot. To be honest, I would not have noticed what you pointed out as “problems” in the second. We are are own worst critics.

    • I struggle with sharing what I “think is best,” only because I don’t necessarily feel as though it’s an accurate depiction. But you’re right, I’m definitely my own worst critic.

  4. I totally get your insecurities and I think most women will. Both images are beautiful, but like Molly, I like the second one better. It has taken me some time to be able to show my stomach the way it is, including scar and stretch marks. We all are our hardest critics, while we all are beautiful in our own right :)

    Rebel xox

  5. Wait, there’s tummy bloat in one of these images?? Not seeing it.
    If we’re all choosing here, I like the first, because of the hand. Seriously, the hand looks as though it’s about to do a reveal. The second image doesn’t have that tension.
    Of course it is possible that it’s a bit of artistry and also a bit of insecurity/vanity call it what you will. The two are not mutually exclusive. We all have bad days. Frankly I think posting selfies online at all shows huge guts! So, go you. Your style will grow with you. Great post.

    • Yeah, well, there is some bloat, but you can only see it from the side haha. And you’re right, artistry and vanity may not be mutually exclusive. Thanks for your thoughts on this; definitely something to chew on.

  6. Only women postulate as such lol. Men, we just see a curvy cutie – a yummy, semi-nude female giving us all a taste of your ‘goodness’ :) -try not to over think it ;)

  7. Both BEAUTIFUL as ever…and the pics are HOT too! ;)

    Your accompanying prose and rationale are second to none…encompassing many of our thoughts and feelings in your usual masterful and eloquent way!

  8. I love how you show the true beauty from within you through these photos. Lighting as in the first picture does wonders but still shows your true beauty. Beautiful!!

    xxx Miss July xxx

  9. I really like BOTH… the First for it’s artistry is very sensual and makes me want to continue looking at it… the Second for it’s reality because it shows your wonderful skintone and makes me want to continue looking at it..!!!
    As for your tummy, I think it looks Awesome, and I am envious… in my eyes you have the tummy of a very beautiful, shapely woman…!!!
    Thank you for sharing so openly <3

    • Thanks, girl. I wonder about my tummy because I can’t tell in the pics if it comes off as flabby or muscular or maybe a mix? I do have lines of definition, but also padding. Aesthetically, I have no idea if it photographs well.

      And thanks again for your kind words. :)

  10. Hyacinth, this is not science, a human anatomy class where you’re trying to show the body in cold, fluorescent detail. This blog is creative, it’s art, it’s impressionism, it’s a depiction of whatever you want it to be. You have no obligation nor need to display yourself in all your scientific reality, like an academic writer attempting to maintain academic integrity. Vanity is allowed. Careful selection is allowed. Guiding the readers where you want them to go is allowed. A clinical, still-life photo of you is no more “reality” than a posed, well-lighted, softer image, In real life you’re all of the above, in a fluid, ever-changing way that is far more beautiful than any of the single images you’ve ever put up here.

    • JK, thank you for the brilliant analogy. You are so very right about science vs art. I am always trying to figure this out while staying true to my message that we are all beautiful to someone somehow someway. And it’s when I think of that that I get tangled up, but the bottom line is, this is my canvas and I may paint it with whatever I choose. Glad you’re in my corner. xx Hy

  11. I’ve been guilty of shooting over and over until I find a print I can live with when it comes to whole-body images. As much as I would like to think otherwise there is some vanity involved. But I do admire when others just “put it out there” because I do believe the human body is beautiful in all shapes and forms :)

    ~Kazi xxx

  12. For me I love the second image. It is sharp and honest and shows your beautiful shape. I love the shadows that are lost on the first image. I do think that black and white would also suit this image really well as I feel that it would define those sexy female shapes even more :-)

    ~Mia~ xx

  13. Beautiful pictures. So sexy and soft. And real.

    But unlike some, I do amend my photos on Photoshop; I am a far better manipulator than I am photographer and it brings out more in the image. ;-)

  14. They are both lovely images, but I think I like the second one best.
    I like editing my images some. I use to edit them a lot more. In the beginning of my blog, I edited stretch marks and marks. Now, I don’t. I am guilty of favoriting black and white over full color.

  15. I totally get what you’re saying. I don’t photo shop my photos either. Learning how to get great shots is the fun of it all.

    I do use soften sometime to hide my scars or turn things b&w
    I love the second one. Like Molly said, it would look amazing in b&w

    Xx lori

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