This self-portrait project is taking on a life of its own. It started out as a vehicle in which I could try out different techniques, lighting, and new locations , but it has evolved into a self discovery project in which I am getting to know myself really well. I know all the sides of this 50+5 year-old woman, I know that at certain angles I see the signs of a woman that has been around for a while…for the first time I have seriously considered a bit of filler or botox to perhaps address this situation. I know that my curvy body needs fitted garments or I can go instantly to frumpy real quick. I’ve learned that my natural hair is perfect for hiding my grey strands. I’ve learned that looking into to a lens can be intimidating- we all have a perception of what we want or think we look like, what is pleasing to us- and trust me when I upload and look real close you see all the good the bad and the downright ugly. I know how vulnerable we are since we are constantly bombarded with perfect images in the media that trust me, most are so altered you would be amazed. I know that phone selfies are not always our friend especially if you are not 16, I have had clients show me phone pics of themselves that they love and want something similar…basically diffused, distorted and blurry.
When I first started the project I felt like this narcissistic crazy lady, I did not want anybody to see me doing this, so I had to wait until I had alone time, if I were outside had to make sure the gardener was not around. There are lots of clicks to get the one or two that convey the story I am trying to tell. I have to plan my wardrobe, setting, makeup, hair and lighting, all natural light is not equal and artificial light that is another story, one that I plan to conquer soon. I love that this project is forcing me to grow as an artist, to take chances and try things.
I do the shoots weekly, and post them on Thursday to my social media and to a self portrait group I belong to, I have no chance to drop 5 pounds or go on a cleanse so I can look my “best”, each week I capture who I am that moment, the fuller version of the 40 year old me. I am the picky critical client that I have to please. I have come to accept who I am today and not worry, I want to exist in photos for my family, there are so many periods in my life where I don’t exist. I have no pictures from 25 to 29, and only school pictures from my teen years, and a couple from my childhood. I know that is why I am obsessive about taking photos of my family and friends even if they get annoyed. After I do the 52 pics, I will be making a book for myself of this body of work.
I would recommend everyone try a few self portraits. It is easy to do just set your timer on your camera and get in position. If you don’t have a camera you can use your phone, just set it up on something so you can get the perspective that you want.
Here are a few more from my “wandering” #9 series. The inspiration was I wanted to be in a lush field with a big long flowy skirt on, I wanted morning light and of course my #bighairdon’tcare” hair. I was happy with my results, and am thinking about my next shoot…maybe something modern and stark total opposite of this one.