Well, I have officially made it halfway through the self portrait challenge and I must say I am quite pleased with myself. I never thought I would make it this far, and now I simply must finish in the name of pride, and art, and selfies everywhere. In honor of this joyous occasion, and because I can think of very little else to write these days, I am going to share ten things I have learned while taking fifteen pictures of myself.
1. I am not perfect, and that is okay. I have always known this, but what I didn't know is you can find perfection in the imperfect. Take my brown eyes as just a small example. There are many things I dislike about my face, but there is nothing I dislike about my eyes. Yet, even my eyes are not perfect. There is a dark spec in the brown of my left eye that some would consider to be an impurity, but I love it. It is unique and entirely me and can really only be seen in full sunlight--something I just discovered.
2. It takes several tries, but I don't stop trying. I often thought those who took selfies would just lift up their iPhone and get the money shot on the first try. Though there may be some of you perfect selfie shooters out there, I am not one. I usually take about ten, ahem or 20, but in the end I always have one I want to use. I consider this a victory! Never give up.
3. Alone time is good. When it comes to taking these self portraits I have discovered the best ones tend to happen when I take myself out of the business for just three minutes. I like that quite time, a rear treasure, all to myself.
4. Memories are in the making. These self portraits have done a lot to help me treasure up moments. To stop, to snap away, and to really hold on to feelings and thoughts.
5. Put the clutter in the shadows. I was recently reading an article about finding good lighting in your own home and a lot of it talked about how to use natural light from windows to hide the clutter. My life is full of clutter, but in these pictures I get to put all that away, literally and metaphorically.
6. A portrait does not have to be a face. This is a photography tip I have gleaned from this challenge. I find more and more that the pictures I like best, even on Pinterest, are those that harness the essence of a person through detail and minute features. Hardly any of the pictures I absolutely love have anything to do with a full frontal of the face, but instead things like the curve of the neck, or the angle of the shoulders. Those who know me best know and recognize those details about me. It is intimate, and I like it.
7. It is enough. The perfectionist in me wants each of these self portrait pictures to be publish worthy, but the truth is that is never going to happen. One picture of myself per day is completely unnatural for me, but what that means is you get to see me how I naturally am. I already have about five pictures of me I want to delete from the reel, but they speak truth and that is enough, and some days the truth aint pretty.
8. Overcast lighting really is best. This is another photography tip I have always known, but have really implemented in this challenge. This is very apt, because overcast and rainy days are my favorite days. Being able to use that kind of soft light for my favorite photos is just icing on the cake.
9. Beauty is in the mundane. The days I forget to take a self-portrait usually turn out to be the days I actually have things planed and am wearing something completely fashionable to match the occasion. So, aka, the days I am looking great and would actually want a picture. Then by the time I remember/get around to taking my self-portrait I am back in my comfy clothes, doing absolutely nothing exciting. Those pictures of me on the couch or looking out the kitchen window have been my favorite so far.
10. It isn't all about me. At first I thought a self portrait challenge was such a vain pursuit. Pictures of me, me, me every day? C'mon! But what I have discovered in my photo reel is how few my selfies are in comparison to pictures of my Littleman, my hubby, my family, and this beautiful world around us. Yes, I am taking 30 self portraits, but I am also taking so many more pictures of other things. And who will, in the end, be benefiting from all of these self portraits? Me, in some small ways, yes, but others as well. I prefer being the one behind the camera, that is no secret. But it is important, as a participant in this life, to step in front of the lens once in a while too. I want my Littleman to know what I looked like when we where playing marbles. I want my husband to remember the girl he fell in love with over and over again. I want my 70 year old body to be jealous of my wrinkle free, 20 year old body. These portraits will make those wishes a more likely reality.