Thursday, December 07, 2006
Lens turned inward
One of the pitfalls of being the designated photog of the family is the relative paucity of pictures that include me. I'm not complaining, mind you, because frankly I hate being in pictures. I'm not comfortable in front of a lens: I never know whether I should be serious, silly, or somewhere in between. The whole smiling-for-the-camera thing strikes me as unnecessarily artificial.
I'm much happier when I'm behind the lens, where I have a lot more control over the outcome. Maybe it's the storyteller's wish to never be his own subject. Whatever the case, it's amazing what a few inches of distance can do to one's psyche.
Despite my discomfort, I sometimes take self-portraits because I can't think of anything else to shoot at that moment. The self-portrait is a whole other animal, because I don't have to rely on anyone else's shutter finger. I don't have to stare at the photographer and second-guess every compositional and technical decision he/she makes. I don't have to fret over having my head cut off or my nose getting caught at the wrong angle. When I'm doing my own shooting, If I hate the outcome, I simply blame myself. Then I delete the offending file and try again.
So when I found myself in front of a mirrored door with a few minutes to burn off, I turned the lens on myself and had a little fun. I like this one because I'm not trying to be someone's subject. I'm simply doing what I so enjoy doing. After all, that's what a picture should capture, right?
Your turn: Do you do self-portraits? Why/why not?