Self portraits struggle

So, this got me thinking about my real trouble with selfportraits. I knew what my real troubles are but honestly, didn’t think that anybody else would have similar issues. Everyone seems fine with selfies.

I asked two photographers I really like, about their selfies. They had completely different approaches and they work is completely different, however both of them care about the things that really matters in photography, and I know that they have a great respect for each other.

Lew took a good selfportrait. He photographed himself in his garage. Simple. He passed the message successfully.

 He shoots street photography and I have to say it’s really refreshing to see him presenting some other types of shots. Here’s what he did

His words were: ” I don’t like, and very rarely take, shots that are posed to make a point, they seem to me as fake.

But, just as an actor uses his own experience, I tried to use mine to make a shot that demonstrated how I was feeling at that very moment without specifically being about me.”

He also said: “There isn’t the control in self portraits and that is of critical importance to me.
Without the ability to be sensitive to small issues in taking the picture, I would end up just settling for a standard shot and what importance would that have?”

Lew nicely described and pointed out my issues too, but the thing is, I’m really not capable to even take a standard shot.

My avatar is a standard shot. It was just a few minutes job and I was talking to someone at the time. It cross my mind that I would like to introduce myself to that person, and I shot that. I thought about light, shoulders, chin and “here’s me you’re talking with” look. A second after the shot is done I lost that feeling. That feeling never came back.

Lew created a scene, there’s not just him there. He found out a place he’s comfortable in and a place that can help him pass an emotion. It looks like an easy and creative process of thinking for him.

I, on the other hand, can’t be creative with anything related to myself. My brain just wont work around any concept if there is me involved in.

Here’s another selfie. Standard shot. Simple. One would think that’s an easy task to do. For Chriss it may be easy to accomplish. But not for me.

As I said, I’m not able to do even a standard shot. I look empty, posed, uncomfortable. Being alone with just a camera and staring in just a camera, a  black peace of equipment which doesn’t say a thing to relax me in front of it…

But, I figure out that I can take selfies with me almost as a silhouette, with the camera in front of my face, with my face out of focus and with my face cropped out of the picture. Just look at my Gallery, Selfportraits. Funny. I manage to take three photos where I show my face.

I obviously have some issues with photographing myself and that makes me want to resolve those issues. Every time when I realize that I have issues with something I jump in order to fix them. I’m like that. I want to be able to do decent selfportraits. Ok. Would you please help me? These guys did help. Thank you!

Now, about the featured image up there. I sat on a place that has a nice light and turned my head to the light. I respected all limitations and conditions of the place and sat there. Not doing anything except staring in the direction of the light. And it shows. Lack of true emotion. Lack of any kind of story and lack of any kind of information about me. I did that after I was tired of trying to do a standard torso and head shot.

I asked Chris to edit the  photo and he came up with that edit. My first reaction was: “weird” I just didn’t used to seeing myself on a photograph.

I’ve just visited Facebook, I rarely go there (with my personal account) and I’ll go when someone ask me to. The first thing that jumped out from the page was my cousin, posing of course. She likes to be photographed, she does it all the time. She puts her makeup on, do something with her hair, dress up, dress the husband, the baby and voila, let’s take some pictures!

She is all about looking good, posing and flirting with camera.  I’m all about being comfortable, natural and real.

How can I achieve that in a photograph? I’m clueless. I ask when the subject is me, not someone else, someone else is easy to make them relaxed, comfortable and natural. I’m not that easy.

There are gazillions of women across the web posing and smiling and looking nice. I want to look nice in the photograph, but not like them. I’m perfectly capable to copy someone else’s self portrait but I don’t want to copy.

I know this must be boring thing to read, so don’t,  but I really want to get this out, get rid of it and get going, maybe something will click in my brain.

I wanted to scream and photograph my screaming. I did that. I was terrified when I saw the result.  I deleted those immediately.

Chriss did that …

I asked him: “Could you answer me how could you objectively look at yourself screaming and looking like that? How can you face that kind of emotions presented in a photo of yourself? Give me some advice about what I could try, how to approach?

I had such a strong reaction when I tried screaming, I just couldn’t look at myself. I want to overcome that. What you would give me as an advice?”
He said: “They are just images, attempts at portraying emotion…some work some don’t. I post them all and don’t cringe because if I look bad, so what? It is just an image no one gets hurt by posting a selfie.
You wouldn’t know it but I am intensively shy.
But you get only so many chances and felt like if I didn’t take the chance and push through my self imposed barriers I would lose it all.
So take a selfie… express an emotion… don’t water it down because you are scared of what others think and you may surprise your self.
What I express needs to be drawn from within… the frustration I expressed both in the pic and post processing was real… at least to me”
As I said before. Simple.
It needs to be simple, but somehow it’s not that simple for me. I’m not shy, I don’t think I’m ugly, I’m not worried what will other say.. but somehow I’m clueless about how to take a decent selfportrait.

Author Description

I love photography and learning about it. I'll try and fail that's for sure, but sometimes, I hope, I'll do good. As for the Misophonia part of the blog, I'll write honestly about my experiences and feelings, trying to help myself and others who feel the same way as I do and maybe to raise some awareness about this condition. All written here is just and only my opinion.

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