Sunday, February 11, 2024

Selfies and beyond...∞

This isn’t by first excursion into selfie territory. I went back there in September of 2019 and continued into the early pandemic days in the summer of 2020, playing around considerably. I’ve decided to return.

What put the idea into my head was a line from “Kubla Khan”: “His flashing eyes, his floating hair.” I figured I had the floating hair down – I haven’t cut it since the beginning of the pandemic – but the flashing eyes might take a bit of work. That’s a problem when taking a selfie – What do you do with your face? Since you’re taking the photo by holding the camera at arm’s length and pointing it at your face, you can’t actually see your subject. I mean, you’re holding your arm out, grasping your camera a bit awkwardly, and thinking, “I’m taking a selfie, now what?” You see the problem, no?

Anyhow, here’s the eighth photo in my recent series:

I think of it as a stunt shot, photographing yourself in a mirror. So what? And yet, somehow, I like this photo. It manages to creep out of the stunt category. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s that bicycle peeking out at the right, or the bit of pipe at the upper left. It’s a bit messy. I like that.

And then there’s the camera’s flash. Though I wasn’t thinking of it at the time, that’s our flashing eyes, or one of them at least. You can’t see much of my floating hair, but it’s in full view in the next two photos:

I particularly like the second photo. From a standard POV the light’s lousy. We’ve got light coming in through the window while the left side of my face (on the right in the photo) is in shadow. But I really like the light, the way the scene through the window washes out at the top, the play of light on the ceiling and along the walls, the bit of light from the sconce in the hall at the right. Photographs are made with light, so why not show it? I have no problem with photos that aren’t trying to pretend that they’re not photos, not artifacts crafted out of light.

I still have to figure out what to do with my face. But there’s not much I can do about my jowls except loose some weight. Ah...

We’re back to the mirror:

I like this one a lot. I’m holding the camera off the to the side and pointing it at my face in the mirror. You can’t see the camera...why I did it. But I like the interplay between the room reflected in the mirror and the wall around the mirror itself. The wall tiles in the reflection are in fact the same color as those around the mirror. That’s not how the light plays in the photo. Notice, again, how the image washes out at the right.

And then I had an idea:

I’m going to play around with THAT some more. That’s one hell of a rabbit hole. Lots of nonsense down there, lots of stunt photos. But maybe I can make something out of it.

For the first time I’m thinking that maybe I need a small studio set-up so I can control the right and get things aligned just so. That’s not going to happen for a while. But I can still play around.

More later.

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