Every photograph is, in some respect, a self-portrait. The photographs I take say as much about me as they do about my subjects, since how I perceive the world is purely subjective. Photography is about seeing, feeling, longing, remembrance, and connection. It should suggest questions, without necessarily giving answers. The camera frames what I see and the moment I frame something, I express myself by what I’ve chosen to include and to exclude. The act of taking a photograph is a very personal endeavour.
All of our time is spent with our selves. Given that, I have decided that I might as well take photographs of my own body, self-portraits if you will, to try to get below my own surface. After all, I am here. I want to see my self – get very close. Dig deeply.
Recently, I bought a “smart” phone and have tried taking some “selfies.” I discovered that I have difficulty looking at and pointing the camera toward my own face. This year, I turned fifty-five. I am aging and photographs reveal this reality. No matter, I have decided to dive into social media and show self-portraits on Instagram. I am interested in identity and understanding how we see and identify ourselves.
Yet, the truth of the matter is that I like to be behind the lens rather than in front of it. I am, at heart, a voyeur and like looking into other people’s windows (literally and figuratively); this is why I keep the shades down at night. So, I have decided to peer into myself. What do I see? How can I capture and communicate my emotions?
On the street I am attentive. I take the camera with me and shoot with purpose. However, now that I have an in-phone camera I shoot with a new-found frequency, more loosely, and freely. I am ever more connected to the process, to play, impulse, and chance. I suspect the phone changes the way I photograph because it is always there – better than any “Instamatic” ever was. Much of the time I turn it toward me.
The iPhone and Olympus OMD-EM5 camera are the tools through which I speak. And yet turning the camera on myself, my face, my body, I find they fail me. My body appears conspicuous. The skin ages. Joints creak. I am a stranger to myself. This “otherness” changes, daily. I am here and although it requires effort, these self-portraits open a dialogue with my self.