Lil Self Portraits
I have to remind myself to get a good photo in every now and then. I use to model for photographers around town and have a sweet portfolio of tiny test shots and contact sheets, some negatives... I never really got a copy of a really good portrait out of the whole experience. At the time, it wasn't very important. I saw "me" hanging at salons, spas and exhibits, thought nothing of it, just work. I still don't know what to think of it all, even now, looking back. I am just thankful I have some small record of this time in my life because photography was so expensive before digital cameras and phone cameras. A "selfie" required a self-timer, a mirror, so you'd have an idea of what you were doing, film and a friend with darkroom or money to develop.
What I did enjoy, and the reason I spent almost ten years involved in art modeling, was meeting people and learning from them. I didn't know how to shoot a decent photograph, until I started working around photographers. I learned a lot about myself, how I came across, how I carried myself and what I was communicating. In those photographs I can also see what other people brought out in me. Through photographs, you can learn much about yourself, if you choose too, and you are not afraid of the camera or photographer.
For all the criticisms that the "selfie" has received, I think it is an exquisite tool and it's accessibility is a portal to all sorts of discovery. If you approach it all mindfully. We can't all be Cindy Shermans but we can see all those thoughts and ideas of self manifest and play with identity, study ourselves, experiment, perform, capture, document. Learn. That being said, empty self portraits are churned out every second. It's opportunity lost. Anything can be edifying, an experience, growth.
When I took the photo of myself, pictured here, I bravely sat at a sunny window. Once I took a few I realized I wasn't wearing any make-up except for a pale lip gloss. I was not feeling my most confident today or my best, needing four hours more of sleep. I saw where my idea of self did not match the image. I saw signs of aging that sobered me up to the fact that it is indeed happening. The result was one I was not happy with but a few hours later, I realized it was me. In a few years I want to look back and see who I was. I won't look like this. Who am I here? A woman who was inspired by an old silk flower to stop running errands for twenty minutes, let some light in, put her hair up, sit down and stare into the camera in the room. The uneasiness in my eyes, because this was not a day for photos but I wanted to see why. If you delete one after another, you're doing it wrong.