Janie Maccers, self-portrait time again. If I had to do this more often, it would probably take away my enthusiasm for photography altogether. But hey, I went into this degree-course in photography willingly and happily, so no complaining now.
In the first semester of the course – two and a half years ago, now – I got away lightly when it came to our self-portrait assignment. The project back then stipulated that it had to be done via lens-less photography. (For the non-photographers among my readers: Yes, it IS possible to create photographic images without a lens. Just think of a photocopier and the fun things you can do with that, preferably NOT at the office Christmas party while not quite in possession of full brain capacity… Or use a pin-hole camera whose little opening acts as the aperture of the camera. Or create a photogram by exposing photopaper directly ex-camera.) The latter is what I did then. And I opted to show my regal profile in a slightly confusing manner, i.e. it was not discernible at first sight that I was in the image, at all. (Curious? Check HERE.)
No such weaseling out of the uncomfortable assignment of self-representation this time around. A photographic self-portrait was needed for the people photography class. Added to the pain of seeing oneself in a picture was setting up tripod, figuring out the lighting, fiddling with mirrors and determining some way of focussing. It took me 87 (eighty-seven!!!) attempts to get ONE image that was half presentable. NO JOKE! Oh, and by the way, that is not because of vanity. My final image has not been “cosmetically enhanced”. It’s
warts wrinkles and all. But the focussing and the composition of a self-portrait are an absolut pain when you are working on your own.
In the end it was the lucky coincidence that produced the desired shot. I had not intended to crop my forehead out of the shot. I was actually moving forward while staring into the camera and at the same time frantically pressing the remote trigger, wondering whether I should give up there and then. Click. Almost a Cartier-Bresson-ish decisive moment: The way I was leaning forward the (continuous) light caught just the right hand side of my face. The auto-focus did not focus on my eye, but my lips, and a nice shallow dof adds to the moody shadows in the bottom right.
Ha, if I were a crime novel writer, that would make a nice moody jacket photo!