Maybe she is sitting at an outdoor cafe, her phone held out in front of her like a gilded hand mirror, a looking glass linked to an Instagram account.Maybe she tilts her head one way and then another, smiling and smirking, pushing her hair around, defiantly staring into the lens, then coyly looking away. She flips through these images, appraising them, an editrix putting together the September issue of her face; she weighs each against the others, plays around with filters and lighting, and makes a final choice. Her selfie is off to have adventures without her, to meet the gazes of strangers she will never know. She has declared, in just a few clicks, that she deserves, in that moment, to be seen. Shot Two: Zoom in on a group of people watching this woman, one table over.She was expected to stay quiet and erase herself, a smiling woman with a polished silver tray.But upstairs, in her little room, she worked with colloidal silver, and there, Clover was queen of her domain.Our Word of the Year choice serves as a symbol of each year’s most meaningful events and lookup trends.It is an opportunity for us to reflect on the language and ideas that represented each year.In their sitting room, Henry was king, while Clover played subservient wife, as women of the time were expected to do.No matter that she was extremely educated, the daughter of a prominent doctor and a Transcendental poetess.
She copyrighted her technique, sold prints to museums, and wrote myth-making prose about her process in her memoirs: Julia took only a few pictures of herself, and in them she looks far less imposing than her subjects, who were usually stoic, grizzled male intellectuals or creamy-cheeked actresses and debutantes.
She started taking photographs as a side hobby in 1883 (Henry would never let her go pro with it), collecting pictures of her friends and family and the politicians that flowed through her house, the ones she wasn’t really supposed to talk to all that much.