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?

23 comments:

MissMeliss said...

I do verbal self portraits all the time, but actual pictures? Never. I hate being in front of the camera. (And yet, I love being on stage. Yes, I'm weird.)

And I'm here from Michele's this time.

~Cathy~ said...

My self portraits never come out quite as well as yours did!

I have to remind my hubby to take pictures of me with the kiddos occasionally. I'm always snapping them of him though!

utenzi said...

That's a great picture of you, Carmi. The last picture I remember seeing of you on here was when you were doing a tv broadcast and you looked a little too clean-cut. This picture is far more revealing in the personality sense.

I don't take many pictures of myself and my girlfriend isn't very camera oriented so she rarely takes any of me either. So I don't have many pictures of myself either. Of course that's no great loss!

Michele sent me over to admire your self-portrait, Carmi.

Karen said...

The only way I do a self-portrait is if I want a photo of me plus someone else (like me and hubby). Otherwise, no way!

Michele sent me today, Carmi. Hope you're having a nice evening!

Catheroo said...

Hi, Michele sent me, but I'd be here anyway :-)

I do take self-portraits, yep. But I'm still hiding behind the lens. I never take my own portrait using a tripod. I always look silly when I try.

Mamacita said...

I don't do self-portraits because I have too much regard for the feng shui of the universe. I absolutely HATE pictures of me.

If I looked good I might not mind so much, though. Sigh.

I'm here from Michele's tonight, although I come here all the time anyway.

Just a trumpet player said...

There are not that many pictures of me neither... well honorable ones anyway !

Never liked myself in pictures. That would explain all the weird faces I usually make or why I always volonteer to be the photog...

Michele sent me ; have a great weekend !

patricia said...

Can't stand self-portraits. Partly I guess because I'm an artist, I also like to be 'behind the scenes' so to speak. I enjoy photography as another creative outlet, and putting myself in the photo is not usually on my list of enjoyable things to do. I guess this has a lot to do with my own insecurities about my appearance. I've always thought that I have a rather funny-looking face. But what can do? You get what you get.

Anonymous said...

No, I don't like self portraits (of myself, that is). I don't like hearing myself recorded either. Although I haven't been filmed enough to know for sure, I suspect it's the same for that medium as well.

I am, however, intrigued by missmeliss's comment, for I can use the written word to portray myself far better than any picture I take will. I would concede that others can do a far better job capturing my image than I can.

In the coming days, I will do a little experimentation and play around with angles, lighting and exposure. You have piqued my curiosity. Perhaps a post on the success or lack thereof? We'll see.

Anonymous said...

I don't like having control over my own portrait. when someone else does it, i can blame them for making me look...well... "off."

Snaggle Tooth said...

I feel like you're shooting me looking at this!

I'm famous for my unposed people shots (which I don't post) at get togethers. I love the natural, true-selves outcome.
I've done a few self-reflections-shooting n find my mirror-self looks different from what I'm used to seeing...

SzélsőFa said...

I hardly do any self portraits, because I prefer being the one that controls the events to the one that is being controlled, too.
The last time I made one was when something very happened in my life and I was unsure about the future. I did not know what to do and expect, how to react. I had to take another hold of me, it was a very emotional moment. A very sad one.
The photo came out nice. One day I might be publishing it.

Justin said...

I haven't thought much about doing a self-portrait. I think it would be neat, but I'd probably worry too much about getting the perfect picture.

Bulbboy said...

It's been a while since painting my last self portrait, but did recently participate in a naked photographic portrait of myself.

Reason: money raised for charity.

What do you think?

panthergirl said...

I used to, but that's because I was doing the online "dating" (and I use the term loosely) thing. Thankfully I'm on medication now and don't need to do any more self-portraits. LOL

All kidding aside, there are almost no pictures of me in the thousands I have of my kids and ex-husbands. It always amazed me that it never occurred to these guys to take the camera once in awhile.

Ah well.

Here via michele today, and I'm sure it won't be the last time!

Bob-kat said...

Right!

I feel the same way and am also in very few photos as I am much more comfortable behind the camera.

It was the same when I worked in theatre. I never wanted to be onstage and was much happier working as Stage Management or in Lighting.

I hate posed photos too. It does not capture the person, merely what thye look like. You capture the persons spirit when they are off guard, when they are doing something else.

Linda said...

I rarely do self portraits...I have done a few, but it's just not in me. My hubby will sometimes turn the camera on me, but my subjects are most often my kids. It's just better that way...I don't like to see what I look like through the eyes of others.

srp said...

Oh, no!!! Never pictures! I haven't liked to be in pictures since my wedding. So any self-portraits I do are purely accidental!

Yours is great though! One question... if this was a mirrored door, what did the people on the other side think?

Rick said...

When you take a photograph, it is like having a dream, Carmi. Everything and everyone in the photograph---is you!

I paint a lot of self portraits, because I'm willing to stick around while I paint. But seriously, they are psychological studies to a small extent, and, as with all portraits, largely an attempted explication of the soul.

Rick said...

Oh, by the way. Please come by today and look at a short advertisement I posted. I am writing about it at work. I need to get thoughtful feedback on how people perceive it. I'd like your thoughts in particular, given your background, profession--and thoughtfulness.

SQT said...

Self potraits are fun. I drew one of myself years ago and I still have it. It's also fun (well sorta) to look back and see how we've changed.

Btw, I'm here via Michelle's.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with all you said about being in front of the camera vs. behind. That is exactly where I like to stay...where I can share what I seeing ( and I tend not to cut peoples heads off, which is what happens when i hand the camera over) :) . Great blog...wandered here from kenjus blog who is a friend.

susie said...

I do self-portraits all the time. Esp. when I was on mat-leave, and wanted to take a pic of me and Baby J.