The Bigger Picture

by Molly Moore
Molly laying naked on a fallen tree

“I see myself through others eyes and I am made anew” Do you know where this comes from?

Tsk, tsk, if the answer is no, as it is on the homepage of my blog right up at the top. They are my words and reflect what taking and sharing my self portraits has done for me. Exposing myself in this way has forced me to confront the truth of my body. It is far from perfect, I am 43, I have had 2 children and for a large chunk of my adult life I was extremely overweight. All those things have left their marks on me. Some of them I love and embrace but others are, even now, are hard to accept.

I have always tried to post images that reflect the truth of me, both how I look and who I am. Yes I have been known to crop images for various reasons, usually because I want the image to show a certain quality, feeling, atmosphere etc and  I would be fibbing if I said there were not some unflattering images that have ended up in the trash but overall I feel that I have ‘told the truth’ but it is not always easy. So when I read this piece; Versions of Ourselves by Exposing 40 I could completely identify with her thoughts.

I think one of the things I have learned though is that it is OK to an image crop sometimes or to throw away the ones that just make you shudder because there is nothing wrong with being kind to yourself and focusing on the joy of your body, both how it looks and how is makes you feel. Posting candid self portraits is not meant to be a harrowing exposé (unless that is your kink in which case, knock yourself out) but an opportunity to learn something new about yourself. There really is absolutely nothing wrong with playing to your strengths.

What I have learned is that one should never be afraid of focusing on the best bits. Discovering how a certain pose or position shows of the sensual curve of your hip, the way your hair curls around your collarbone, how the stockings frame your bottom, the delicate detail of your nipple and so on, allows you to find a new appreciation in the details of your body. We all too often focus on the negative of our body, the parts that make us unhappy. Clearly there are personal benefits in learning to accept and love those things but giving yourself the time and space to see the details of and know your body that little bit more intimately is a powerful thing because dissecting yourself in such a manner allows you see bits of yourself you never noticed before, you learn to love and appreciate them and the more you do the more likely you are to make peace with the bigger picture.

Molly laying naked on a fallen tree

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HappyComeLucky May 23, 2015 - 11:59 pm

I love the way your form and curves follow the line of the tree. This is a very beautiful image. I am really drawn to images that combine trees and people.

Flip May 24, 2015 - 12:32 am

I must admit, I often feel a deep sense of guilt for presenting my images as I do, for using filters sometimes, or cropping in a certain ways so the bits I hate are hidden off camera.
For various reasons, mostly linked to my health, my weight fluctuates all the time, so I feel that I start to become comfortable with who I am only for it to change and I have to go through the whole process again.
So I apply a filter to mask out the stretch marks, or alter the angle of a shot to hide the rolls of fat, or the saggy skin where fat once was.

But anyway, this isn’t about me, it’s about your image, and this is great, I love how your body’s contours follow that of the tree, how you’re stretched out along it…it makes me want to try it myself 🙂

Flip xx

james May 24, 2015 - 1:35 am

i always look forward to your postings i find your photos to be very honest and quite refreshing the ls another fine example thank you James

SweetWomanDirtyMind May 24, 2015 - 2:28 am

I received a lot of love for an image I posted a few weeks back that I find unflattering. I can’t help but see my flaws in it, but others saw only sexiness and fun. It’s indeed valuable to realize so many of those who look at us see ALL of us, not our flaws.

You look like a nymph in an enchanted forest.

kinkybikermom May 24, 2015 - 3:00 am

the tree hugs your curves almost perfectly it is like the tree was made for this exact moment

Remittance Girl May 24, 2015 - 3:15 am

I think when you present your image to the world, you need control to present it the way you feel it represents you best. That isn’t dishonest. That’s a matter of recognizing that the camera is not a perfect tool of reproduction. It cannot reproduce or convey all the aspects of you that are non-visual. That sounds obvious, but it is not. It means that we have to stop seeing photography as ‘capturing the truth’ – it doesn’t. It has to be coaxed and cajoled and bullied into capturing even a small fraction of the truth of a person. So I don’t have a problem with discarding images, or tweaking an image at all. There is nothing more inherently ‘truthful’ about an untouched photograph. Photography is capable of lying to make you look better, younger, more perfect than you are, and it can also inadvertently emphasize shadows, highlights, textures that make things look worse. It’s just an imperfect tool that needs a lot of help to bring out a fuller story.

Sweeten Dirty May 24, 2015 - 5:49 am

These words are so true. Beautiful picture, as usual. 🙂

Jane May 24, 2015 - 6:08 am

Firstly, I love this picture. The pose, the beautiful emerald green of those trees, the peek of red collar. I adore outdoor shots and this has just reminded me that I need to do more of them.

Secondly, I have taken loads of images of myself that have ended up in the recycle bin but, equally, there have been others that I’ve been really excited to post because they show me in a way that makes me happy. In all honesty, though, it’s the pictures I’m not sure about that teach me the most about my body. Those ones that make me think … “Hmm. Should I post that?” Jane xxx

Malin James May 24, 2015 - 7:11 am

It’s very easy to cast “the truth” of ourselves or our appearance as a static, concrete thing, but it isn’t. The truth is that I rarely love or dislike every bit of myself consistently. I feel like I might be speaking out of turn because I rarely post photographs of myself online, but when I do, they are sometimes edited and filtered and sometimes not. I think a self-portrait should be whatever the writer / photographer needs it to be – if that is unfiltered and raw, excellent, but if it’s to focus on something that gives you joy while excluding parts that detract from that feeling, then that is truthful too. So long as it’s you in the picture, I think it’s ethical and very valid, especially when how we present ourselves communicates so much.

silverdomuk May 24, 2015 - 8:03 am

Beautiful picture.

I have slowly been getting less stressed (but not without some) about shoing my body in all its broken glory. It’s not easy, but I persuade myself that it might help others with non-traditionally beautiful media/fashion industry imposed body types to post.

And that was a very clumsy sentence.

Eugene Noale May 24, 2015 - 10:27 am

You have great legs, whether sheathed in striped socks or nude in repose. So lovely, so relaxed.

Indy May 24, 2015 - 10:32 am

Cameras don’t show who we are. They don’t show how other people see us, with the memories and the personalities and the interplay of our characters and our physical selves.
They also seem to show people who look far more like our parents than our reflections do (is that just me?).
I think there’s a difference between honesty and beating ourselves up.

And I think your photos are always amazing. They have an incredible sense of someone with themselves, whatever the setting. That’s impossible to edit in or out.

The Other Livvy May 24, 2015 - 11:46 am

I love this picture. You look beautiful and that tree was clearly grown to show you off!

I think it’s OK to crop out those bits of us that we’re not comfortable sharing yet. It can be empowering to exposure flaws and not crumble, but there’s just as much honesty in presenting how you’d like to be seen until you’re ready to make that step. Xxx

KaziG May 24, 2015 - 12:06 pm

So very very true, all of it! You look at one with that tree 🙂

~Kazi xxx

Kilted Wookie (@Kilted_Wookie) May 24, 2015 - 12:44 pm

We don’t frequent the same woods, it seems, but we both love the possibilities they present.


Oleander Plume May 24, 2015 - 12:47 pm

I look at this and see a very beautiful woman, perfect in every way.


Kat May 24, 2015 - 1:39 pm

I love this picture of you! Your body curves into the tree perfectly.
I totally relate to not loving all of my body… In truth I love very little about it and I always crop because there are things I am simply not ready to share, yet, if ever.
But there is truth in “imperfections are beautiful”, I find flaws, quirks and uniqueness very sexy.mwho wants perfect anyway? Not me.

Marie Rebelle May 24, 2015 - 2:18 pm

I agree with each and every word over here, and especially with what you’ve said in the last paragraph.
As long as we constantly focus on the negative, we will never grow. But if we start by focusing on the positive parts, we might slowly start to accept and love the negative ones too.
That said, I need to start doing this with some of the images I have been hiding away for too long :/

I adore this picture of you!

Rebel xox

O May 24, 2015 - 5:04 pm

Like you said, absolutely nothing wrong with focusing on your best bits. Those little imperfections that make me who I am are certainly nothing I’m ashamed of, I just enjoy making the most of the bits I’m particularly proud of.

Nature is a wondrous thing, and I really like how your body, perfect and entirely as Nature intended, sensuously drapes over the tree, kinked, curved and also exactly as Nature intended. The contrast of hard, wrinkled wood with soft, smooth skin. Fantastic.

O x

Exposing40 May 24, 2015 - 6:56 pm

I love this post, and I love the comments it has generated too. And, of course, you are right – taking joy in celebrating the good bits rather than constantly self-flagellating with the bad bits for the sake of it will keep things far more enriching. And this is a wonderful photo! Xx

Charlie May 24, 2015 - 7:44 pm

Your words resonate with me so much. Beautiful picture too.

Tabitha R May 25, 2015 - 12:02 am

Yes! All of it, yes! I love this so much – be good to yourself – you are your art – your art is yours x x x
So inspiring and the image reminds me of a beautiful composed mamma panther lying contoured to the tree – utterly at ease.
Stunning Molly x x x

SassyCat May 25, 2015 - 2:02 am

I always enjoy looking at your photos. They are always so creative, raw, bold and inspiring. I never gave it much thought to other’s photos and how they came to pick that photo. If they used a filter, cropped it or if it’s “truthful.” I visually take the photo for what I see. Appreciating the work behind it, also appreciating that they are sharing it with the blogosphere. I admire the time that goes into editing some of the photos. I admire the photographer.
I’m glad you write posts like this. Thank you for that.

Simina May 25, 2015 - 1:58 pm

I adore outdoor photography, but I have an adverse reactions to insects, so I’m often afraid to lean against trees lest they be infested with spiders. However, I find the human form contrasting with vibrant nature to be infinitely beautiful.

sub-Bee May 25, 2015 - 5:32 pm

I agree. I won’t edit any image that I post. We may crop and use filters and we’ll take my face and tattoos out to hide my identity but I won’t change ‘me’.

I tend to stretch my arms out which flattens my stomach but also makes my boobs look smaller *sigh. I do have an image I’m sitting on, I love the background to it and it was great fun to do but I don’t like how I look.

Great image by the way, I hope it was as peaceful as it looks.

Krystina Hasty May 25, 2015 - 6:44 pm

Love that you are being so open and honest with us about your body. It truly allows us to see you for who you are inside and out. That Molly is super sexy in itself. The rest though is provided naturally though through what we see.

Thank you for sharing yourself with us, Molly. It helps us and gives us the chance to do the same through Sinful Sunday since we have such a confident woman leading us in this journey to self worth about your bodies as humans.

xxx Miss July xxx

Brigit Delaney May 26, 2015 - 6:17 am

That’s an awesome photo. I love that you take candid shots and that you share them. All of us have body issues of some sort or another. It can be hard to accept our flaws. Your project is a healing one…learning to see yourself as art obviously has helped you…as I’m sure it has helped your readers.

Penny May 27, 2015 - 3:28 am

To me all of my self portraits are “true,” even though I often choose flattering lighting, poses, etc. The same person can look drastically different depending on lighting, POV, etc. And really there’s no such thing as objective photography (unless you’re doing photojournalism out on the streets without any planning on lighting or any editing, but you still compose & decide what to include…) So I enjoy choosing lighting, posing, etc. that I think makes me look good or creates a certain feel.

That said, I think I’ve become more loving of my body/less picky about the kinds of photos I post over the years, and you/Sinful Sunday have helped me gain the confidence to post images that may not be normally considered sexy (like menstrual photos etc.)

I love this shot, you seen to be perfectly as ease and almost part of the tree…which is hard to accomplish! 🙂


MariaSibylla June 2, 2015 - 1:06 pm

I absolutely adore this photo, Molly. I really think you are part wood nymph for how naturally and beautifully you always seem to wrap yourself in the outdoors.

I loved your words as well. I do think it’s important to show our best bits, the photos that make us feel beautiful, strong, lovely. We definitely do need to celebrate ourselves and be kind to ourselves. I love posting a photo that i feel super jazzed about and sexy in. But also, For me, self-image can be a bit of a hang-up and I know that I am sometimes harder on myself than is necessary. When I’m feeling like that, I try to push myself to post a photo where I might not like the way I look because I need the help of others to see myself in a kinder light. I’m so happy we have a place to do that here. Being able to freely share here has done wonders for my confidence and really has shifted (in a positive way) how I feel when I look in the mirror.

Beauty's Punishment June 15, 2015 - 6:24 am

I love your pictures as always 🙂

It annoys me that my camera won’t co-operate with me and I don’t get the image I like of whatever I’m taking a picture of. My sister has a million pictures of me sticking my tongue out at her since I didn’t think I looked good in photos, so I’m sure it stems from bad body image I’ve had for years on end. It’s hard to get over that. 😛

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