The new year is well upon us…so how are all of those new year resolutions going? I made only two. A seemingly small (a bit of self portraiture) and the other rather, I guess even with its simplistic sound, larger (live life to the fullest; waste no time). As it turns out, I think I had my proportions mixed up. Self portraiture isn’t as easy as I had originally anticipated and living life to the fullest has come rather easy as of late.
I didn’t set a lofty goal such as a 365 day project. I just figured I would dabble in it a bit. After reading about Jeff Harris and his incredible commitment to self portraiture I was very impressed and somewhat motivated to do something no matter how small. The shots with Gene Simons and Billy Idol are hilarious. It is a very awe-inspiring story; take the time to watch the video. He makes a very strong case for “I realized I had 5 minutes in a day to do it.” But…you still have to do it, keep it organized, etc. etc. Very intriguing it is – so maybe someday. My focus is elsewhere at the moment.
You would think looking in the mirror would be very similar to taking a picture of yourself. It is for the most part and that is where I started most recently. It is a rare day that I do not have my camera with me; it is just apart of me now and goes most everywhere. There is a small mirror on my office wall whose job is to guard the door against stealthy ninja co-worker attacks. You know the kind – tip toe up right behind you and startle you (favorite office past time of mine). That, and blowing bubbles over someones cube wall – really freaks them out for some reason…they are just little bubbles.
My very first self-portrait was done in a studio lighting workshop with the RWPC at our studio in The Anderson Center this past November. That was an excellent opportunity to not only photograph others, but to also put yourself in front of the lens. Anyone who knows me – knows that my preference lies on the operator side of the lens, but this was an opportunity to change that up. There really isn’t anything to fear, but the fear itself – so get over it and just do it. Sure, you will see things in your image that you may not like or wish to be different – who doesn’t? It is in our nature for some reason. At the end of the day though, you are who you are. Learn to love it if you do not already. “Always remember that you are unique. Just like everybody else.” That phrase cracks me up, along with a host of others from a favorite website of mine – they make such wonderful fun of those oh-so-terrific motivational posters that we’ve all seen.
Self portraiture can happen anywhere at anytime. Something I decided to take advantage of since my camera is with me constantly. It may just be the way you are feeling at the time. Perhaps a thought that has just entered your mind. It could be the way the light is shinning through the windshield as you are driving along highway on your way home from work. Or, it could be all of the above that motivates you to take a shot. Whatever motivates you, just run with it.
Take a good look at yourself. You may be surprised at what you see. This very notion is the topic of commonly uttered phrase, “The eyes are the window to the soul.” In doing a bit of research as to the origin of this statement/concept, I found two prevalent origins, Mathew 6 22-23 and further back yet, Marcus Tullius Cicero, a Roman statesman 106-43 B.C. Whether you agree with the statement or not, I think you can at least agree that the eyes are an incredible human organ that afford us such wonderful visions of the beauty around us and in others as well. The eyes are so very telling and engaged in conveying emotion. Their depth and breadth of scope varies as much as the color and sizes in all things living and breathing.
Delving into a bit of self portraiture was a great experience and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is sheepish of having their own picture taken. Taking a look at yourself may provide you with some insight when photographing other people and when you look at the people in your life. Above all – remember to have fun with all things photography. It may just change your life.
Here are few other shots from this experience.