Monday, November 17, 2008

Untitled Me

A few months ago I blogged about the book She Took Her Own Picture - a book published by some of the members of the
Female Self-Portrait Artists Support Group on Flickr. Well, the tremendously talented ladies behind this book have decided to publish a second volume which includes even more self-portrait artists - In Her Own Image. I am thrilled to be included in their company.

I'm definitely not a shy woman. I am pretty outspoken and honest about myself and who I am (not always here though...if you know me personally, you know...) Also, if you know me, you are aware (because I constantly say it) that deciding to write this daily blog was not an easy decision for me...I love photography, yes. I love to write, yes. I love to read, yes. I love the internet, yes. I love to share things I read and find interesting...yes. And, I love myself...yes. Come on, this is the age of narcissism with all the networking sites, YouTube, Flickr etc. and so what? People have to be who they are and if they annoy you, you can just de-friend them or whatever. :) Even so, I definitely think that some things, thoughts, beliefs, etc. are private...I'm not one of those bloggers who will write about getting a leg wax or having a fight with a friend or family judgment of those who do (not my style) but it's just not something I'm going to discuss here.

What's the point of all of this as related to the new book? Well, I've always loved street photography and travel photography but those images are my interpretation of a place at a specific time when I was there. I love it because I have no control over what I see or how other people act in a world where everyone wants to constantly have control over every aspect of their existence. With street photography, my emotions sometimes come through in an image - like for example when I was in Cambodia I think that I chose some of my angles and perspectives to directly reflect my empathetic and sympathetic feelings toward the Cambodian people as well as my respect for them and the places I visited while in their country. I didn't sleep for the three days that we were there because I felt so deeply moved by the people we met and I think that this is evident in the images that I brought back with me (not my lack of sleep but my sincere feelings surrounding our trip...) Or, even when I take photos of my home sweet home, New York City, I think I see things that visitors can't because I'm so intimately familiar with this place. But, having said all that, with street photography, a moment in time when you have your camera up and ready, is the proverbial box of chocolates - you never know what on earth you're going to get (except with Godiva because they enclose a handy leaflet...yum!) Anyway, the point is that with street photography the world is a blank canvas for me and while my emotions may come through in a photograph, it's not always that evident.

However, with self-portraiture, I have complete control over the situation...where I put the camera, where I put myself, how I light the image... Beyond the technical aspects, I can control how much of myself I want to reveal in any given photo. When I left Big Law I started to think about myself in a completely different way. I always I assumed I would stay in corporate America, run the race, be competitive, etc. because that's just what I did. I understand now that it's just another race I'm running and that I will always be competitive (long live Type-A). But, after I left, after it all sunk in, I had a lot of time to think about myself and my place. I was a fish out of water but I was about to jump into a new ocean. I was scared and I felt a little lost - like, um, what just happened? I knew it was coming but when I actually did it..I didn't know any other life or profession so needless to say it was a huge change and while change is good, sometimes it's also frightening. I started to turn the lens on myself, rather than hide behind it, to explore my feelings about these changes and to just examine myself. My collection of self-portraits is like a
diary of sorts - kind of like this blog.

So, I'm thrilled to be participating in this book because I know it will be a wonderful collection of thoughtful and inspiring work but also because for me, personally, I feel like I have come full circle. I love their selection of my image among those that I submitted for consideration - so far only one of my images is going to be included but the editors are determining which others of mine, if any, will be published. I'm still kind of looking for a title. I may just leave it as "Untitled" because really only I know what I was feeling when I took it. At one point or another it had two very different titles: "Before the Dawn" and "Some Days I Just Don't Feel Like It" What are your thoughts? Just curious...I have until December 1st to decide.

Today's Soundtrack:

David Bowie - Changes

I'm off to have dinner and to get my Gossip Girl on. Who knew I could love Mondays so much?

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