(Snapped on 2/17/11)
When I first threw my hat into the analog photography ring, I worried that the nifty, square pics. that my Holgas and iPhone produced - might unseat my self-portraits as the current governing body of my work. But what I've noticed instead is - that rather than oppose or compete with each other, these two dissimilar forms of photography have managed to meld their staunch differences, and in doing so have forged a seamless, symbiotic relationship.
(Snapped on 2/14/11 - using an iPhone and an Instagram effect)
Over the entire (almost) year now, that I've been doing my self-portraits - there have been many times when I've come up with a theme, specifically to suit a chosen venue. In other words, it is not uncommon for a particular location to cause the spark that ignites the shoot.
Something my Holgas and iPhone have taught me, is that it's absolutely okay to take pictures of people and places and things, without always putting myself in the shot. Before discovering the panorama mode on my Cybershot, I used self-portraiture as my excuse to photograph those things that I normally would've felt silly about capturing with an inexpensive point and shoot camera. Oh, and speaking of my "inexpensive" point and shoot camera - it's funny to me that the combined cost of all my "toy" cameras, equals that of my most recent Sony Cybershot...so when going on dollar value only, my Sony holds rank as my most valuable piece of equipment. But defining "value" can be somewhat arbitrary, and much as I love my trusty Cybershot (cuz you and I both know that I do) my Holga and my iPhone have proven to be invaluable, not only because they've helped me branch out from self-portraiture, but in some cases they've actually enabled and encouraged me to take selfpics that I mightn't have otherwise...
Take for example, the image above. It shows the interior of an out building that sits on the same property as the creepy house that I wrote about last post. Taking Holga and iPhone snaps around that property, gave me time to get used to the unpredictable environment. I dunno, I guess there was comfort in feeling like I might be forgiven for poaching, if I was caught taking innocent pictures of stuff...rather than half-naked pics. of myself.
By the end of this little photography spree, I was proud of myself for not pussin' out, and terribly excited to finally sit down and study my newest batch of self-portraits. The real surprise though, was how much I was diggin' on a few of the pics. that I'd snapped with my phone, while warming up to the sketchy situation...including the photo above. What I realized and liked, was although I do now enjoy taking pictures of things that aren't me, some of those pictures actually give me ideas for future self-portraits to stage...i.e. - the photo at the top of this post.
(Snapped on 2/17/11)
Here's the thing...where my truly cheap cameras have opened my eyes, so much wider that I literally see more - it's those people who continue to comment on my pics., offering wise suggestions and sound advice - who have opened my mind to concepts that I hadn't given serious thought before.
Someone left a comment on a recent post, that totally inspired me to experiment with simply juxtaposing the curves of my body against the more severe and/or graphic of the backdrops I pick. All too often in my self-portraits, I lean on the crutch of becoming a caricature of myself....and that, coupled with the comment on my blog - led me to approach (certain of) my self-portraits in a less literal, more abstract way. And as soon as I saw the Instagram image of that gloriously light-filled, slatted shed...I knew exactly where I wanted to start.
Now, what I found interesting - was the commentary from folks with whom I shared the shed pics.. After noticing the nails sticking up through the boards, one friend skipped the critiquing and expressed concern instead - asking if I was up to date on my tetanus shot...I am relieved to say that - yes. I got a tetanus shot last summer while in the E.R. for some other injury...and it's a damn good thing too, considering I sustained puncture wounds in my feet and one ankle, while taking the slatted shed pics..
Another friend visualized photos very different than the ones that I presented to him, saying he thought I should've stayed upright and exaggerated the length of my limbs, whereby mimicking the lines from the shadows and light...rats.
And the last friend thought that by actually being in the picture, I made it nowhere near as good as the original that I showed her on my phone (I can't say that I totally disagree with her there) Her complaint though, was one that I hear often and mostly from women - that the nudity is just too distracting...that it detracts from what could've been a much more interesting pic.. She would've liked the photo better if either I'd stayed out of it completely, or if I'd told more of a story by wearing a costume, and affecting a persona - thus creating more of a scenario (lord I cannot seem to win for losin') She stated however, that in her opinion, being naked in the picture above...did make sense. (Hmmm...could be to some people, nudity is tolerable - when it's not quite soooo "in your face")
(Snapped on 2/19/11)
Clearly, it's not possible for me to please everyone, and what I've come to understand in my post-social network time of solitude - is that as grateful as I am that people take the time to look at my pics., and as much as I appreciate and always hope to get feedback, I make these pictures first and foremost - to satisfy something in me...
I've continued to and will continue to pose nude in some of my pics....it's my most favorite costume, after all - so versatile, convenient and (almost) always relevant.
But I am fully aware that the nudity can get just as tiring as my goofy costumes tend to do.
I also know that sometimes it works...
(Snapped on 2/23/11)
...and other times ^? Mmmmmm...not so much (heeHEE!)
I've said it before, but it bears repeating, since it seems to mean more to me now...this whole thing is all just one big learning curve...and honestly? I'll never learn anything unless I am open to trying most everything...