I can probably count on one hand the number of photos taken of myself and shared over the last year. Head shots, I mean. There are lots of pictures of my feet and toes in various poses and places. I could probably string them together to make a fairly cohesive narrative (love that about images).
Until a couple of months ago I did not have the kind of camera that flips around for taking easy selfies (genius, by the way) and to be honest, taking a picture of myself always has felt like a strange and uncomfortable thing. I haven't really liked having any kind of lens pointing my way, by my own hand or anyone else's. I look and all I see is the imperfections. It's the reason I have not delved into making videos and tend to shy away from the idea of webcams. In that regard it makes me feel really behind the curve.
There are so many women out there who take beautiful self portraits and who make it seem effortless and liberating to be in front of the camera. I see daily shots of these beauties radiating their inner light through photography and I always have the same reaction... a sort of shyness at seeing someone's image of themself because it feels really vulnerable and honest, a wonder at how at ease they seem because I always feel awkward and self-consciousness and seemingly self centered, and totally impressed by the skill of taking such evocative images of themselves.
So, I get it. Underneath there is something to do with this idea of looking at myself and how I feel about who I am. Just like the quote I heard the other day that said something like, pay close attention to the things we avoid, avoiding the camera means something. For someone who bares so much honesty in words you'd think sharing a photo of myself wouldn't be that big a deal, but it is, and I'm a little sad to admit that because it makes me worry, does it mean I have some deep rooted shame about the person who I am? Gosh, I hope not.
There is something about the intimacy of sharing a picture of yourself, and therein is where I think my issue truly lies - I think it's more about the intimacy I have with my own self.
Last fall when I realized I would need a new phone, I knew immediately that self portraits were something I wanted to try with the new fangled camera I would have. I also coincidentally came across a really poignant article about a woman who documented a self portrait a day as a way to find herself and in the process shed multiple layers, both physical and emotional, and was transformed. So powerful. Now that I have the tool, I have the inclination to start exploring this as well. Not because I feel lost or a desire to change, but I know there is a rub there I need to define and the only way for me to know is to move through it. It's also another creative challenge, and you know that appeals to my adventurous sensibility.
To date, I have taken and shared several photos of myself this year alone and that is a record for me, for sure. Seeing myself is a whole new vulnerability to confront and it feels both really intimidating and also exciting, so I know it's right where I need to go. I can tell there is much more to see in those images than what simply meets the eye, a kind of understanding and freedom that I don't have yet but know is worth digging through discomfort to discover.