Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Autobiography of My Face

In honor of my birthday yesterday, here I am through the decades. This is something I have wanted to to do for a while, and it's something that would thrill me no end if you would do too. I love seeing the evolution of faces, especially when people choose their own pictures, which means they are showing themselves as they don't mind being seen. How about it? A post of your face through the decades? If you choose to do it, I hope you'll leave a link to your post in my comments!

From top:

1. Me at age one, having stolen my mom's nail polish, a family joke since my stubby nail bitten fingers have never worn polish, not even on my wedding day.

2. At age four. This was my passport picture taken before we traveled to London, where we spent a formative year of my young life. I wrote about it here.

3. At age thirteen, the year we moved to the house on Paddington Terrace that gave this blog its name. I keep thinking I was younger in this photo but the date stamp on the back says differently.

4. Age nineteen, home from college for the summer holidays. This was the year I told my father that I would not be coming back home after college, that I was staying in New York. I remember he cried.

5. In my mid-twenties, on assignment in Ft. Wayne, Indiana for Life magazine. I was in the airport restaurant as the sun came up. The lensman was Michael O'Brien, an incredibly gifted photographer and lovely human being, with whom I especially enjoyed working.

6. At age thirty-one, already a married lady, not yet a mother. This was taken on the gallery of my husband's family home in Antigua.

7. In my forties, well into motherhood. My babies are twelve and nine years old here. Their dad took the picture; you can see that in the softness of our eyes.

8. And this is me now, taken last Memorial Day, on a walkabout in Riverside Park. The photographer is my husband. He sees the me I want to be, even as I climb into my fifties.

Mainly, I wanted to do this post for my children.


  1. I love your face.
    Your Friend, m.

  2. what a wonderful way to acknowledge a birthday, to pause and reflect on change and growth, rather than to bemoan the process of aging. you were so lovely, from the get-go! the two most recent pictures, taken by your husband, show such depth of character; i also love the one when you were in your twenties, with that aura of mystery, possibility....

    thank you so much for this, angella. i will reciprocate and link to yours within the next few's a bit daunting...

  3. Oh my! You've just always been pretty. I'd love to see the awkward phase but you look amazing. Happy Birthday again!

  4. You know what? I want to hug all of the yous. How beautiful you were, how beautiful you are! Your face reveals such inner radiance, too.

  5. Great Idea! I'll think about doing that since my birthday is also this week. Don't know if I'll look as beautiful as you!
    Love that first little still look like that! So darling!♥

  6. You look the same! I'll do it in the next few days and let you know.

  7. I love this idea and will do it sometime -- maybe my birthday in August?

    In the meantime, how beautiful you are throughout your life, and you've certainly passed along that beauty to your children. That photo of the three of you is gorgeous --

  8. Your evolution in pictures is so lovely. Those eyes! :) I am turning 60 next month and have been contemplating "blogging the decade" from 60 to 70 as a boomer babe. You have inspired me immensely here. Thanks!

  9. Mark, I just about swooned. That song. You.

    susan t., i can't wait! and thanks for the kind words about the pictures. I chose them very intentionally because there are many more pictures of me that I cannot bear to look at than there are pictures I don't mind putting before the world. Body comfort is a work in progress.

    Miss A, thank you, dear friend.

    Ms. Moon, I'll take the hugs, every one. Love.

    Kim, yes! I look forward to your gallery! And happy birthday soon!

    Kristin, wonderful! You have such a rich sense and love of photographs and the stories they tell.

    Elizabeth, start gathering and scanning now. That's the part that takes time when you're trying to keep a household going! I love you, lady.

    Elizabeth, I hope you'll link your "blogging the decade" here! Welcome and I hope you come again often.

  10. Happy Birthday!
    I love these, and how much you look now like you did when you were a beautiful one year old.



  11. Same beautiful face through the ages.....and I see your children's features emerging through yours, amazing!

  12. What a gift it was to see you through the years! You, my sweet friend, have such a gentle, feminine, softness which radiates the kindest heart. Thank you for sharing these moments in your life. Simply beautiful and very telling!

    I will do the same because I like the idea of doing this for the children. And when I do, I will definitely link back to your blog to let you know.

    Hugs and love,

  13. Happy Birthday, beautiful woman!

  14. What a wonderful idea. I will do this on my blog! Thanks for the inspiration.

    You are so pretty, outside and in. :)

  15. Oh, Angella, what a exceptionally beautiful child you were, and young woman and grown woman and mother--oh, those lovely faces like Russian dolls one inside the other. I wish I could do that on my blog--I'll try to work on it--I just had a birthday too--oh, thank you for this. Susan's right-it's a celebration of the decades of your life, not a bemoaning of time lost. Oh, what a wonderful post.. xo

  16. Most heart-felt, belated birthday wishes. Sorry that I wasn't here on time. Your photos are so beautiful, your unique YOU-ness so strong in each one. Such a lovely idea and presentation. Very celebratory and honoring. xo

  17. Angella, what beautiful photographs! And happy belated birthday, and a wonderful way to honor the day of your birth. My 50th is just around the corner... I wonder if I could summon the courage to do this! :-)

  18. You are so purely and perfectly your own self from toddler-hoot to now. How lucky you are to have your own face. So beautiful. Thank you for these.

  19. Dierdre, thank you, friend.

    Isabella, funny all our faces meld like a funhouse digitized flow. i see flashes of resemblance, but they are fleeting. love you!

    Debra, i look forward to seeing your portrait gallery! Love.

    T, thanks for the birthday wish! Hugs to you.

    Tess, thank you. I always love seeing your photo evolutions.

    ellen, i'm so glad you're going to do it too. I'll be looking out for it!

    Melissa, what a wonderful analogy, the Russian nesting dolls, yes yes yes. Each face lives within the next. When was your birthday, dear friend? Are we born close to the same day?

    Marylinn, it did feel like a celebration, an embracing of self. thank you.

    Jayne, it does take courage to put ourselves out there, more so visually than our inner thoughts and desires and dreams. Odd, isn't it? What we write is so much more *us* than the outer visage, yet it is the outward self that we most fear being judged. I hope you will do your own gallery and if you do, please leave a link here. xo.

    Rebecca, how lucky we all are to have our own faces. If only we could learn to appreciate our "you-ness" better. Thank you for this kindness. Truthfully, it was the curious and unselfconscious toddler in the first picture that gave me the courage to post the rest. Love to you.

  20. What a gorgeous face you have. How amazingly similar that first and last photo!

  21. Angella, I heart this post so much! What a lovely, lovely face! And your family--my goodness. Gorgeous. Simply gorgeous!

    This is my first good, long visit to 37 Paddington. Think I will take off my shoes and make myself comfortable. :)

  22. gradydoctor, wonderful to see you! please put your feet up. and do come back soon.