Birthday presents and striking photographs

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By now, you know I hate my birthday. I have always done so and every year, I go on a self-questioning journey, trying to find out why, to make amends. I have decided that this year will be different. I have a strange relationship to gifts, to presents, not letting myself be pampered and always wondering if I deserve it, if I will be required to give in the same way. I worry too much and I am not grateful enough. I love but don’t let myself be loved very well. This year, my birthday has reached its peak of spoiling-ness (no, it is not a real word but it will work).

Everybody is conscious of my interest in photography and is giving me related gifts. It is very nice to feel heard, paid attention to. My husband is giving me the best present, testing my ability to let go. I am dining at the most luxurious restaurant in Glasgow. I am also getting a magazine of my choice each of the next 12 months. Well, rather, 11, as for my first month I have chosen an extravagant new publication called Eyemazing, lush, beautiful, moving, but as expensive as a coffee table book. This is surely worth 2 months of my concession… What I like the most about this present is the process of choosing, which is a double edged sword of course. Where does one start with magazines, these days? There are hundreds, all with high production value, some with excellent content. This is a present I am going to learn a lot with. After I made my choice and got my magazine, I returned to the shop to browse more, to look again at some images that caught my eye. There was a Mark Abrahams portrait of Marisa Tomei in V Magazine, some incredible compositions in Exit, the always reliable Bon, and some surprising shots by Bryan Adams, the singer — who I very much dislike but may have to re-think as a photographer, in Photographie n. 45. By far, though, the most surprising image I have seen this morning comes from Art World Magazine. It’s from Vanessa Beechcroft, and just look at it:

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