Jenn, who I adore, is doing this 52 pictures in a year project, and I am shamelessly copying her. (It should be noted that Jenn is likely to follow through on this and do it all year, and I might not make it…in an effort to hold myself accountable, I told Zora she can do it, too, and even use my fancy camera. That way she can nag me. A nagging child has potential to be a great motivator.)
The first assignment was to take a self portrait. We’re each our own worst critics. This makes me cringe. I am convinced that I photograph very badly. I have dark skin around my eyes that looks like a makeup disaster happened. The camera adds pounds that I’d like to ignore. I smile weird. My skin looks patchy, or my hair is out of order, or there’s just no way that actually looks like how I actually look. Even when I have an online video conference (I serve on the board of an organization that meets this way quite a bit: it happens once or twice a month at least) I make sure the video camera on my computer is at an optimal angle, and the lighting is good. It’s a little sick, I’ll admit it.
But I still think taking pictures of people is magical. If you do it right, you see who they are. (My uncle takes incredible photos of people, I think because he takes time to see who they are.) Taking a good self-portrait? What an opportunity to think about what you see in yourself.
I thought about showering and doing my hair, but figured maybe I should be a little bit honest about the life and times of the stay at home parent. I settled for a little makeup. I decided to use my little Olympus E-P3 instead of my phone. It has settings that do things for me. (I was sort of robbed of the opportunity to take a photography class in high school. It’s a long story. I’ll tell you sometime.) I don’t have a tripod of any kind, so I stacked little pieces of furniture as a makeshift tripod. (At one point, I used one of the toddler’s socks to tilt the camera just a little bit.)
I tried everything from laying on the floor to sitting against a backdrop. I finally figured out that the living room had the best lighting, but only if I sat on the floor. No where for a backdrop. This was going to have to be in my natural environment. I took about 30 pictures (I love digital.) Then I had to pick.
Some of my favorites:
This was interesting: I didn’t hustle back to my spot quick enough and the timer caught half my face.
This one: a little arty, still with the black and white. Staring off into space like I’m thinking deep thoughts.
Next we have in color, and dreamy because it’s out of focus, and whatever filter I picked made things a little hazy.
This one is good. Too bright, though I like the contrast. And look at my dimple!
And here’s the winner. When I was done taking these, this was the one I thought of as the least bad option. But coming back to look at it, I like it. I’ve got very blue eyes, and great glasses. There are nice warm colors behind me. There’s enough sun coming through the window to light things up, and you know, it’s a pretty good place to be, worthy of a smile.