Thursday, January 26, 2012

Afraid, But Willing...........

I sometimes joke that one of the reasons I am a photographer is that I prefer to be behind a camera, not in front of it.  I am not comfortable having my picture taken. The first time I was asked to supply a headshot I had my daughter take it. I have been using that same one for almost 10 years. I am starting to feel a little guilty about that since, well you know..............I am in my 50's now. Enough said.

The photo on my blog is of me with the camera in front of my face. A pretty standard photo for a photographer, and one I feel very comfortable showing.

In keeping with my intention to connect and share more this year, I signed up for Susannah Conway's Photo Meditations course. I loved the tag line....."Infusing Your Images With Soul". Since it began, I have learned so much and have been inspired by not only Susannah, but also by the many talented photographers that are participating and sharing as well.

Of course all the assignments are optional and that was my first thought when she began talking about self portraits this week. Not interested.....sorry, not enough time. But I soon realized that there was a reason why I was resisting and a reason why this assignment is included in the course. This is what she wrote: "We are worthy of being seen... by ourselves and the world.............If we are willing to share our self portraits with others we are in effect saying: here, look at me." This terrifies me and goes against every rule I was taught growing up. I heard "Don't get too big for your britches" many times as a child. As a result I would much rather blend into the woodwork than be noticed. It may also explain why I am much more comfortable sharing my mistakes and struggles (my debt, creative blocks, etc), than I am showing a photograph of myself.

But don't we share a little bit about ourselves with every image we make? I know we do, but I could also use that as an excuse. So I decided to work on the assignment. What follows is a progression of sorts. I start out timidly. A reflection in a puddle - that works doesn't it?

Growth was not going to occur if this was as far as I got in the assignment. So I became a little braver and a little more creative.  I dedicate this image to my old phone. I call it my "Android" shot. (If you have one of these phones you will know why.)

Then something strange started to happen. I was having fun! I had gone upstairs to put something away in the medicine cabinet when I noticed the light and my reflection in the round mirror that comes off the wall. Now that would be interesting......(actually bathroom shots are very common).  So I ran downstairs, got my camera phone and started playing some more.

In some ways I may still be hiding a bit. I found I felt better about the shots of me with my reading glasses. I also think sharing something about your environment is important. Yes - I have an iPod dock in almost every room of my house (the rooms I use anyway).

I had trouble deciding if I was even going to write this post. Why would anyone want to see photos of me? But that's not what this is about. It's part of my story and my creative journey. The fact that I am even willing to do this, says quite a bit. (If you are reading this, it means I clicked  "Publish" which I haven't done yet.......)

PS - If you want to play with this or already have a self portrait, leave me a link where I can see them. It's only fair................

PPS - I discovered that if you use the feature on the iPhone that turns the camera around so it's looking at you, the file size is much smaller, which reduces the quality of the image. Maybe there is a button or something that changes that. Does anyone know?


  1. Oh, Diane, I know exactly what you mean. I took Photo Meditations last session and that weeks was really a stretch for me, yet also very freeing in many ways. I didn't post the photos online, but the fact that I did some out of the box shots was enough for me. Congratulations. I love your shots and that you were willing to share them.

  2. Thank you Kim! I love comments where people say "I know exactly what you mean." Maybe some day you can share yours on "Instagram" It's not exactly "online"......

  3. Hi Dianne! I commend you for your candor and courage! It seems you are starting off the new year with a sword between your teeth, ready to tackle whatever comes your way. (Maybe that's another possible self portrait? Where is that old sword???). Anyway, keep it up! You are an inspiration!

  4. Thank you Pamela! I like your you have a sword??

  5. Ha hah, Dianne! I LOVE your blog post today! I can so so soooo relate to everything you've written about in it. And how! I do not feel comfortable in front of the lens myself. At all. I will do whatever it takes to dodge being in a photograph, because to me, I look much better and more natural not being in the darn thing! I see myself in the mirror and I'm OK with it, but whenever I see myself in a photograph??? Oomph!! Ugh! Ack!

    Just so happens, though, we had a 'self portrait' prompt this week over at Darcey's 3 Boybarians and I had no choice in the matter because its one of those 52 projects I committed to and I cannot not do it. Well. I could skip it if I wanted to but it'd break the whole chain if I did, so . . .

    Here's the link. LOL!

    I actually ended up having fun with this too, which surprised me a bit, because I was soooo dreading it to begin with.

    Love your selfie shots! :)

  6. Thank you Angie! And thanks for sharing your link. Your shots are great! Glad you started having fun with it.......

  7. Well, I had no choice I guess - and it was kind of funny taking so many photos of myself, I felt rather goofy doing it. LOL... But I still prefer to be "behind" the camera. That's for sure! :)

  8. Why wouldn't we want to see images of you?!! Some of my blog readers, and friends too for that matter, have commented that they really don;t know what I look like because I don't add photos of myself. Having an IPhone camera has, for some very odd reason, helped me to find beauty in simple, everyday, objects that I might have overlooked in the past as not worthy.
    Great post. Thanks!

  9. Thanks Marie! I am so loving my iPhone for just the reasons you mentioned!

  10. Mama, you are an inspiration in everything you do. And I'd connect with these words even if I weren't your daughter. I love "sharing a little bit of ourselves with every image we make." The world is lucky to have your sharing in it.

  11. I love this post and understand your feelings so well. The final self portrait could almost be my own. I look forward to seeing more of your assignments.

  12. I love that my daughter comments on my blog! Thanks Nichole! Love you!

    Beth - thank you too! Would love to see a self portrait of you...hint, hint......Thanks again. I really appreciate your comment!

  13. Boy, I think this post touched a nerve! Could it be archetypal response? At any rate, I share your hesitations and was thrilled when I saw your photos shift from a reflection in water to your comfort zone in your home. Lovely, wise, witty, evocative; your photos seem to capture many moods of your soul.

  14. I think you're gorgeous and I love your pretty red hair. I had my hair done in that color a year ago and my hubby absolutely loved it. I loved it too, and still wish I had it sometimes, but alas the blonde in me won out. At least for now lol

    I am in my fifties too (the new forties ?) but I am not brave enough to post a photo of me!

    I guess one should never be afraid of their age and should be thankful we are still alive ! I am, I am!

  15. Thank you Hannah and Sandy! You both are so sweet! I really appreciate everything you wrote.