I've shot more self-portraits in the last 2 weeks than I have in the last 5 years. Since I don't have my wonderful friends and clients to photograph I'm having to focus on what I have on hand . . . and as cheesy as it sounds, I always have me.
The setups have been almost comical.
I'm balancing my camera on a stack of books that are themselves balanced on a ladder. I don't have a remote so I manually set my focus using a dress form as a point of reference. Turn my camera timer on for 10 seconds, go back to my spot, pose using the mirror, then repeat that about 2 hundred times.
I never used to like self-portraits. I didn't understand why so many people in my photography community liked them. They are a lot of work. But now I get it.
I have this amount of time dedicated just to me and what I want to create.
I get to focus on my form and my expressions.
I get to feel the discomfort of a pose.
I experience the excitement when I created an image of me by me. It's become very personal as my ability to create with others has been severely cut back to almost nothing.
It's no surprise to anyone who's seen some of my work that I love darker/moodier imagery. It's a style I've always been drawn to. So these portraits are nothing out of my wheelhouse.
I can't say they are dark because I'm trying to express some pent-up creative or emotional mourning. They aren't dark because I feel my life is dark.
There is no underlying story . . . at least not one I'm conscious of. I just like black. And I saw some images on Pinterest and I wanted to see if I could recreate them.
I'm just creating beautiful things, things that draw me in, because I'm an artist. And artists are gifted with a wonderful but sometimes terrible gift.
The wonder is that we create. We make the world more interesting to be in. We add variety and beauty and interest and drama. But the terrible part is what when we are cut back, limited, boxed away . . . our soul hurts. We mourn the loss of a part of our spirit that grew and flexed when we were creating. It's like a part of us is caged away. It atrophies and becomes numb. And that hurts. I'm sure someone once said that "to be an artist is to suffer". I've never felt that to be more true than now. So to keep my suffering at a minimum, I photograph me. I create with what I have. And for today, it is enough.
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