I’m having fun with my self-portrait assignment. We are supposed to take 12 to 16 photos to print out and bring back in two weeks. We are supposed to write down our intent in taking the photographs and document the process.
I decided to use photos of me as a child as a launching point. My idea is to recreate the mood of the photos or a gesture or a look. I don’t really mean recreate, but to find something in the childhood photo and bring it forward in time, reflecting it in the adult me. I figured that for better or worse our childhood selves often reflect a very authentic and unadulterated part of ourselves. That may be an idealized view. As soon as we are born, life starts taking its toll, but I think back at my childhood pictures and remember genuine emotions whether they be anger, fear, puzzlement, joy. So, I know what those things looked like then, what do they look like now? That was my idea anyway, but I didn’t want to be too literal about it and of course, just using the same props or gestures may not produce the same emotions, but they’ll produce something else. So, I figured, I’ll use the childhood pics as a beginning and follow where they lead.
Technically, it’s not too easy to produce self-portraits in general and especially at my house. Almost every wall is full and I don’t really have any backdrops. I don’t know yet how to use my camera remote, but I do know how to use a self-timer. I find that as I have written before, I love the iPhone because it frees me up and combats my perfectionist tendencies so after trying several shots with my digital SLR, I returned to the iPhone. I’m having fun, which is the important thing, but equally important is something else I learned. Like many people, I can’t remember a time when I really felt content in my own body. Still, I didn’t mind pictures of myself or being photographed and loved looking in the mirrors. I did this because it proved that I was there, real, substantial. I didn’t always have people who reinforced this, so I learned that if I wanted a reflection I had to literally find one. Even so, I don’t remember ever really being satisfied with what I saw. I struggled with my weight all my life and even when I was so thin that my collarbone showed I can remember feeling fat and worrying about my thighs.
Looking back at these pictures, I realize the little girl in them was pretty. She deserved to be loved by me more. It makes me wonder what I will think of the pictures taken of me now when I look back on them in the future. Maybe I should appreciate this person now as I am. So, I am trying to be bold in the pictures I take and in the sharing of them. I’m going to keep posting on the process. Tomorrow I’m going to try some pics with the pugs and me.
Writing Prompt: What did you like about your childhood self? What did you hate?