The Art of Decay

By: pbcmedia

Nov 15 2009

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Category: Transformations


Focal Length:180mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:Canon EOS 5D

I bought some new make-up.  The lady was so effusively commanding, it was hard to not vow to faithfully pat the eye creme on every night “or else!” as she put it,  pointing to my spreading crow’s feet.

Her make-up selections all attempt to cover up my imperfections and, failing that (Make-up at some point begins to make things worse, as does plastic surgery, but women don’t seem to recognize that reality), she was all in for tricking the eye and drawing attention away from those realities that simply resist concealment and trying to emphasize those blue eyes.

Her ultimate goal, I believe, was like a magician,  even her need for the customer to go “Oh…….how’d she do THAT.”

The only thing missing from her “do over” of me was a rabbit coming out of a hat or the make-up manufacturer’s equivalent of ta-da: me looking into the mirror and seeing myself at 35.

All I saw was me at 64 with eyeliner and concealer and a bill of 500 plus dollars if I bought everything which I did not.

I bought new dining room and living room carpeting instead.  More than 500 dollars of course but let’s face it, the old carpet was 22 years old and the new one will look..well… brand new.

You have to pay for total transformations one way or the other.  But, some are real and others are creamy trickery.


If I attempted to remove the imperfections of this hydrangea bloom, I would not like this photograph.

This is my goal for personal appearance:  Live with it, baby.  Pretend your crow’s feet are shrouded in the blessed dreamy 180mm macro’s depth of field bokeh.

It doesn’t take Houdini or Lancome to know that the art of decay is in the eye of the beholder.

©Pat Coakley 2009


14 comments on “The Art of Decay”

  1. Yep. After I had my surgery, many people asked if I planned to have MORE surgery to remove all the unsightly bags of flesh hanging around various parts of my body. Nah! The only one I really don’t like, because I can’t hide it under clothes, is the thing hanging under my chin. Oh well . . . it’s a nice conversation piece.

  2. Brian, my sense is that if you were a woman, it would be a more complicated decision whether you remove or not remove. It may be many women make the same decision as you, but we (women), as a group, are much more ojectified in our physical attributes than most men I’ve known. How many overweight, balding women, in leisure suits do you see in a Holiday Inn lounge approaching a 20 something male thinking they have a chance??

    Plastic Surgeons would be on welfare without women.

    Anyway, am glad you had the freedom to say “no” to further procedures that you didn’t feel necessary.

  3. A stunning photograph.
    You are right; both beauty and the art of decay are in the eye of the beholder. Many of your aging cohorts have very limited depth of field, anyway, just like that 180 macro lens. As you responded to tysdaddy, try to be a “cougar” too long and one winds up a fool. Enjoy the carpet!

  4. Nice shot (even if it is of a flower).

    I just think it’s so sad how some women feel the need to smear all that over priced gunk on themselves.

    A bit of advice to those who feel compelled to plaster pigments suspended in various oils, waxes and animal fats all over their faces, leave it off and those people who are still around are the ones you really want to know.

    I’ve had people say to me, “hey, Razzbuffnik, how come you never seem to care all that much about your dress, aren’t you afraid of what people will think of you?”

    My reply is usually along the lines of, “I look this way becasue it acts as bullshit repellant”.

    As a strategy it seems to work for me. I feel that my circle of friends is large enough and I’m married to a very wonderfully grounded and intelligent (despite the fact she’s married to me) woman.

    I think it’s better that what people see, is what they get.

    • Ok. Razz..This is a new retail strategy for clothes: Do you have something, oh, say..something that is “Bullshit Repellant” in size 10? I’m looking at my closet with a new set of eyes.

  5. I have thought about you alot lately. I love this post, actually I love so many of your writings, not only your photography.

    Entropy is an interesting subject, because without death there could be no life. Although I am now not as young as I used to be, its funny that even with my new imperfections I am happier in my own skin than ever. Give me age any time for that feeling.

    Remember, with makeup… as we age, less is more. Keep it all soft and natural. The more you try and conceal, the more it accentuates the cracks. Its kinda like over saturation in photoshop. A little color is good… a lot, well just makes the whole picture look like crap.

    Im sending you a hug and a smile…. know there is someone in CA thinking of you.

  6. Amber, couldn’t agree more that less is more! Thanks!

  7. Reading about you out shopping for youth in a bottle made me think of your mother and a quote I have from my cousin that says “mirror, mirror on the wall…. I have become your mother after all”. Thanks for leaving the store !!!

  8. oops… “mirror, mirror on the wall… I have become my mother afterall”

    • Hollis, I’ll know if I have to use that quote the day I make myself up before I go to bed just in case there’s a fire in the night and I have to go out on the sidewalk.

  9. Please don’t ever say that “mirror, mirror” thing ever again!!!

    I am serious.

    • My ex-friend, HJ said it, Al, not me. Although, I did spend time today trying to get my eye make-up on the way the lady taught me to do it!!

  10. Tammy Faye Baker, Phyllis Diller, Jocelyn Wildenfreak, Michael Jackson, Joan Rivers?
    No- I’d rather the plastic surgeon fashion me after Pat Coakely.

    If I could have a transplant or alteration of any kind, I’d like to have the scimitar sharp wit that asks ” How many overweight, balding women, in leisure suits do you see in a Holiday Inn lounge approaching a 20 something male thinking they have a chance??”

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