Self-Portrait, Buzz Cut, Los Angeles, 1980
Self-Portrait, Buzz Cut II, Los Angeles, 1980

Robert Frank, photographer of The Americans, stayed on my street when he was in Hollywood and frequented the bookstore on the corner. He may have stood with his camera in the steaming sun near me as I waited for my boyfriend then, a writer, slinging hash and eggs at Breakfast All Day on Western Avenue. Perhaps Frank had one of the well-known Willard's donuts. Bag ladies passed. Men hauled refrigerators and laid carpet. People with take-out from the Kentucky Fried Chicken ate a fry or two and all the while, Frank's shadow hovered. I never saw him with his camera there but it seemed like he was urging me to press on. I was teaching photography at Otis-Parsons School of Art and also taking a performance art class with Rachael Rosenthal. She encouraged risk-taking. Little Miss Point Pleasant, freshman and sophomore year prom queen, Miss Ocean County Fair, 'groomed' for Miss America, dreaming to be a professional model, how could I remake my pretty surface? I took a risk and gave myself a buzz cut, leaving only a small ridge of hair. Each Polaroid I took afterward was an imprint, a fissure, and a step further inside myself. A moment of exchange. I surrendered to the photograph.

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