“The camera makes everyone a tourist in other people’s reality and eventually in one’s own.” ~ Susan Sontag
I have more time in my life for photography now, thank goodness. It’s a prescription for healthy living for me and other guests of the Half Century Mark: part therapy, part brain gymnastics, and a huge dose of joy. We encourage our guests to take lots and lots of photos, of themselves. Delete most and share a few with those you love, as well as those that love you, or complete strangers. Sharing with those that you only kinda like can get tricky. Should you hear snickers, find another playground. There’s a big world out there waiting for you to twirl.
My adventure into ‘selfies” began in the spring of 2011 with an on-line class taught by the amazing Vivienne McMaster. My first Viv class, You Are Your Own Muse (YAYOM) was a life changer for me, truly. A self portrait by a classmate triggered something so powerful within me that I began to truly examine myself, my life, addictions and afflictions. But that dear reader is a story, with photos, for another day.
Fast forward to late December 2012 when another YAYOM tribe-mate invited me to join a year-long, portrait a day group on Flickr, an on-line photo sharing site; it was an offer I couldn’t refuse.
My first two photos illustrate what I love about portraiture. You can tell the truth (day one, on left) or disguise it (day two, right).
It’s your story, your truth and you are the writer, cinematographer, makeup artist and lighting crew. Make filters and Photoshop your friend one day and the next, go straight out of the camera, showing the real you. There are no right or wrong portraits.
Personally I enjoy dressing up my truth. Mrs. Crow (day four, below) is one of my favorites:
The fourth person
I also like the concept of a self portrait as ‘fourth person.’Jenny, writing for the photography blog Mortal Muses, attributes this concept to the artist May Ray: “Like other painters, I’ve made self-portraits, even photographic ones, but I’ve always been tempted to deform or alter the image in such a way as to erase any intention of seeking a resemblance. You might say – in the fourth person.”
Not I, You, Him or Her but someone else with a story to tell. Sometimes the person that shows up in my portraits surprises me. I’m not always sure where they she comes from or what she may need to tell me. I realize that shots of my body are harder for me. They come to me veiled in cloth or light.
But no matter their origin, or their messages, all are made to feel welcome in my heart and imaginary hotel lobby. Sometimes they even sing.
So what makes you and your heart sing?