Egotistical Exercises, or, Experiments in Self-Portraiture

(Apropos of nothing, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOMMA!)

***EDIT: I was intensely caffeinated when I wrote this, so it kind of reads like it’s in fast forward.***


If you’re like me (and I suspect most people, even secretly, are), then, aside from the nominal insecurities about appearance, health, lifestyle, career prospects, finances, social interactions, intelligence, and personality, deep down you think you’re pretty awesome.

*I* think I’m pretty awesome.  The Pie is a terrible liar so when he says ‘you’re awesome’ generally I believe him.  So I’m a pretty awesome wife.  I’m a pretty awesome cook.  I’m a pretty awesome anthropologist – no, I’m actually just a middling anthropologist, but I do only have half a PhD at this point so there’s an excuse if I ever heard one.

One thing I am not pretty awesome at doing is taking pictures of people.  The light is always bad, they’re looking away, blinking, or moving so fast everything comes out blurry.  It’s a real failing.  My problem is I’m not a fan of posed photographs.  I find the candid ones always turn out better – expressions are more genuine and they’re less cheesy.  They just don’t turn out well when *I* take them.  Most of my shots of the Pie are of his back, a fact my mother never fails to point out to me.  I can’t even shoot my own husband right.

So I need some practice.  I can shoot Il Principe to my heart’s content but he’s a baby and baby pictures always turn out well, no matter how badly I set them up.  Kº, Kª, and the Pie will all lose patience with me very quickly if I practice on them before I develop any real skills.

I’m going to do the ultimate in self-serving activities, therefore, and take pictures of … MYSELF.

The main reason is to get some practice understanding how different poses work, to learn new lighting techniques, and to penetrate the miasma of technical camera stuff that I never bothered to absorb before.  And really only I have the patience to sit through my OCD while I figure this stuff out.

The other reason is that I am generally The-Woman-with-the-Camera, so in group shots and outings and whatnot, I’m the one taking the pictures and there are very few of me.  The most current pictures I have of me that I like came from my wedding, which was last summer.  Most of the other ones of me that exist catch me candid, showing my double chin, my belly roll, or the peculiar upturn of my nostrils.  Not flattering, really.  So it would be nice to have some shots of me where I’m in control.

Now just so you know, these aren’t going to be your typical ‘Myspace’-like ’emo’ shots, reverse-angled through a mirror and shot from 45°.  These will be real (though entirely inorganic) shots of me doing real things.  Brushing my teeth.  Cooking.  Washing dishes.  Reading.  Gardening.  The usual, which is usually action shots.  I don’t do sitting still very well.

***EDIT: Can you hear the caffeine?***

Kª mentioned Cindy Sherman to me the other day, and her work is kind of sort of exactly what I want to do.  You can see some of her stuff, done around 1977, as part of a MoMA exhibit in 1997.  I probably won’t be that well-coiffed but my mop-top will suffice for now.  I may even be wearing painting pants and be covered in dirt.  It’s kind of my style.

Now you know what I will be doing.  I’ll post results when I’m happy with them.  Until then, you can have a picture of my hands, a part of me with which you are already rather familiar.

Author: allythebell

A corgi. A small boy. A sense of adventure. Chaos ensues.

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