ZOMG LOOK AT MY FACE: Why I Hate Self-Portraiture But I Do It Anyway

Before you ask, yes, I’m familiar with the 365 project, and no, that’s not what this post is about. If you are though, I give you mad props because I can’t do that kind of stuff with my camera.

The 365 project (and its many spinoffs) is a challenge for people to take a picture of themselves every day for a year. It’s really quite interesting and the finished products can be breathtaking when strung together. My roommate freshman year of college was halfway through when she moved in, and I can attest through her experience that it really pushes your creative boundaries of being a photographer. I’m considering it next summer, but I’m not sure yet.

But sorry – this whole post isn’t even about that.

So, if you’re reading this blog, I’m a) assuming you can read and b) assuming you’ve read the title. That title is “Sometimes I Take Pictures.” If you’re wondering where that title came from, it’s a combination of my taking pictures, a play on the fact that this blog will mostly be words, and me just not being very good at thinking of deep meaningful titles (as you will see in the headings for pretty much every post.)

But about me and my pictures – I like taking pictures of people. Any sort of people. Preferably the kind that want their picture taken, but apart from that, wide open. Now, I’m currently living at my lake house and devoid of most human contact. Back home, I could grab my camera, open my front door, shout “Anyone want pictures taken of them?” and I would have at least five peppy and well-dressed volunteers raring to have me position and snap away to my heart’s content. So that’s no longer an option. What do I do?

I could go build meaningful relationships here and eventually have new friends that I could take pictures of…or I could bond with my tripod. She’s a dear old thing and has served me well for almost eight months. With her I can angle, self-time, and pseudo-snap just as well as…well, almost as well as I would if the camera was in my hand.

Now, I’m not going to lie to you. I’m not some narcissist that just wants a new profile picture every day. I just want to make good photos as often as I can. And if that means taking one for the team and having them be of me, then I’ll do it. There are some benefits to being your own model – you know where you should be in the frame, how you should smile, etc. But this is also where it backfires. Some of my best pictures of other people come from them just being them and me getting the chance to capture the moment. I haven’t exactly figured out how to do that with myself and my tripod yet – I’ll let you know when I do.

But the real reason I find taking a portrait of myself a challenge is how much thought I have to put into it to make it look good. With my normal photography style, I pretty much revolve around the model and slam on the shutter button, and get good pictures that way. This is contrasted against taking a self-timer photo, where I need to aim, zoom, focus, click the shutter…then race to get in the frame, position myself correctly, and let the camera snap away. I like the process, slow as it might be. Some of my favorite pictures come out of me just playing around with my camera without the issues that come with models. Plus, never hurts to have a good picture of yourself.

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