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Entries in self portrait (20)

Thursday
Mar312011

Window

170.365 50mm (plus macro 20mm tube) f2.8 1/50 ISO 1600Well obviously I was going to shoot something macro again.  I mean I barely had time to rattle off a few frames with the 36mm tube Tuesday so I resolved to try a different length yesterday.  The daffodils are calling to me but it seems so obvious.  Not that it wouldn't be lovely (or I should say, not that it won't be lovely, since I will clearly break down and do it before the daffys die back) but I have a fear that you'll land on Bird and think to yourself, oh right.  Of course she shot that.

Couple that with the fact that I just saw Meredith Winn's amazing portfolio of self portraits.  It is a collection of photos that is incredibly beautiful and filled with both humor and tenderness.   They are the kind of photos I can totally imagine (and aspire to) taking of other people, but to take them of myself?  Well, it inspired me to stare down the barrel of that particular gun again.  I haven't done this in a couple months, so it was time.

Let's just say that creating a portrait session for myself within 15 minutes of getting home with a two-year-old is challenging.  And funny.  As I set up the mini tripod and draped myself over the dining room table (notice that bubble lamp reflected in my cornea?)  Ez kept saying What doing Mama?  Before I knew it he he had climbed into the table with me - I wan get UP! - and snatched the remote shutter control out of my hands.  The kid's a sucker for anything with a button.

Anyway, clearly I think (hope?) that the work I produce daily by shooting outward says something about me and the way I see the world.  But looking at Meredith Winn's photos it really occurs to me how powerful this combination of light and lens and personal story could be in filling in that picture I present.  I think it might be time to turn this self portrait thing into a project.

Saturday
Jan222011

Proof That I Do, In Fact, Take My Camera Everywhere

102.365 50mm f3.2 1/20 ISO 1600Another sick day, though I had fair warning with this one.  I also had the benefit of being semi-wakeful for most of the day, which helps when the one thing I am committed to accomplishing -- despite the ick -- is to take a picture. 

I had the camera nearby all day, but I spent most of it on the couch.  Lying prone on the couch surrounded by the detritus of toddler-dom does not inspire one to actually put the camera to one's face.  Only when I moved to a hot bath and noticed how fabulous my red toenails are did I decide it was worth a frame or two. 

I have always maintained a belief in the therapeutic powers of pedicures.  Yesterday it was at least as healing as Vitamin C.

Thursday
Jan132011

Turnabout

93.365 50mm f1.4 1/6 ISO 1600Two observations today.  First, today marks three months since I started this exercise of turning my camera on everyone and everything in my path.  Except myself.  Second, some of my favorite photos I've taken lately have been portraits of people unabashedly looking directly at the camera.  When I hold those two thoughts in my mind at once, it becomes clear that I need to put myself in front of the camera and force myself not to look away.

I wasn't always afraid of the camera.  True story:  my first real job out of college involved being a weekend weather girl at a small-market television station.  Obviously that was before the nose pin and the pixie cut and the self respect.  And yes, there is video of it somewhere but no, not even my husband has ever seen it. 

But one of the benefits (motivations even?) of being the family photographer is that you almost never have to smile for the camera.  Or worry about looking weird.  Or think you look fat.  So last night I got home, set up the tripod and the remote shutter trigger, put on eyeliner(!), played with the light and the focus and the posture.  But mostly made myself look right at the lens. 

Hopefully doing this from time to time will make me a better portrait photographer, more sympathetic to those I'm scrutinizing through my viewfinder.  At the very least it's fair play.

Sunday
Dec122010

Pixie

61.365 102mm f4.5 1/13 ISO 200There is a picture, famous in a small circle, of my friend Angela and me on the occasion of the surprise 25th birthday party she threw me.  I met Angela shortly after I moved to Denver when I walked into a salon in my neighborhood, laid eyes on her, and asked her to cut off my shoulder-length hair.  The minute she put her hands on my head I was in love.  The fact that the pixie haircut she gave me actually inspired people to stop me on the street and tell me how great my hair looked compounded my affection.

It's been years since I let my hair grow out, but lately I've been feeling like it was time to return to my sassily shorn coif.  Yesterday I sat down in Angela's chair and let her go at it all over again.  When she was done I think we both felt like it is more than a haircut; it's kind of like a time machine which transports us back momentarily to that time, more than a decade ago, when we were always together.  For a moment I thought I caught a faint whiff of hedonism in the air.

We're both waaaay better-behaved now.  But I had to take this picture as an homage to that fateful haircut, a famous picture, and the enduring love a girl has for her hairdresser and friend.

Friday
Dec032010

Mixed Media

52.365 18mm f9 1/320 ISO 200I didn't know when I started this blog how important writing would end up feeling to the project.  I have debated with myself about whether it's even right to have text as part of it, you know, pictures being worth a thousand words and all.  I have wondered if, on a photoblog, the pictures should speak for themselves.

But I'm a verbal person, a writer by nature and by trade.  I decided that this is a journal of my study of this visual art form - a public one, but a journal nonetheless - and since I'm learning every day it makes sense to take notes. 

I hope the pictures stand on their own.  But if they're made even better by the words, I'd be happy about that too.

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