Five years ago, while perusing the internet, I started to look at the images that were on websites to accompany articles. I clicked on one that had a link to where it was shared from Flickr. I then realized most media came from stock imagery, and often not imagery specifically taken for that purpose. I then decided to post my own self-portraits from My Photographic Diary, which is an ongoing project I started in 2009 documenting my everyday life. I became interested in seeing if my photographs would be used when putting them in the creative commons and various stock image websites. The amount of my photographs that began popping up on websites and books completely surprised me.

I obsessively started to archive their use by googling and doing reverse image searches. I fell victim to how poorly women are treated in the media. The variety of the articles and usage of my portraits shows the complexity of women’s relationship to the media. It seems that a woman’s image can be more easily manipulated and changed to fit a viewpoint and appropriated to the gaze of the author. For the past several years I have been archiving hundreds of these screen captures and placing them into categories. The images I take are personal and not specific to stock photography. I realized that my snapshots can take on several different interpretations. My personal self-portraits have taken on new meanings and allowed me to study how a woman’s image is perceived in our modern culture. I become the overweight girl, the crazy ex, or the girl who keeps dying on Facebook. I am everything and I am nothing.

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