The December monthly competition at the Orkney Camera Club has the theme: Myself. The theme guidance given reads: Doesn’t have to be a selfie but it can be if you wish! It is time to turn the camera around and create a set of images that reflect you as a photographer. You can take it quite literally if you wish.
Weirdly, the advice given served only to make the analysis more difficult for me. I just could not think how to go about this theme and the more that I thought about it, the longer that I put it off… until in the end, I failed to take any images for the theme at all and ended up scouring the archives for something that would “do”.
Among the plans that I had were to take photographs of component parts of the photographer – my finger on the shutter button, a scene reflected in my eye… and so on. I had the overblown idea of taking the trigger finger one posed to recall The Creation of Adam and to do a double exposure with one hand holding out the camera and t’other index finger on the trigger. Imagine!
I also thought about taking some low-key shadowy self portraits, suggesting my reticence about being on the wrong side of the camera.
In the end I selected half a dozen images that ranged from a literal self portrait to some descriptive photos and general conceptual ideas.
The selfie says it all – Photoshopped not only because I enjoy creative editing but also (and mainly) due to the need to hide behind something. Note the glasses and the camera between self and mirror/lens. Photos of myself make me feel very naked – exposed.
The style of the creative editing is expressive, I feel, of the frequent sense of uncertainty that I have about my images and their quality or meaning. I wobble, wibble and dither. The image may possibly indicate that to the viewer.
“Creative” editing is not to everyone’s taste. I like sometimes to add an artistic interpretation to a bald image – not that I would call it Art with a capital! I’d like to canvas your opinions though. What do you make of my selfie and does it convey any message to you? (Note that the knitting makes an appearance)
One pic that I really did want to include was this heavily-Photoshopped one that represents me as photographer, knitter and playful “creative” editor.
This was always going to make the cut as the only image that I feel fits the brief and really does show who I am. The fact that I used my old analogue SLR as the subject depicts something of the many years that I have spent in attempting to learn this craft. The reflections and shadows may speak of hidden depths or simply of being camera-shy myself. The knitting is something that I feel more comfortable and confident with… and spend an awful lot of time photographing!
The Observer in the Landscape is one of the many photos that I took of The Unknown last year. I love all of them for different reasons but this one I picked as a general representation of a concept – The Photographer as an Observer in the Landscape – static, set-apart and yet intrinsically a part of the whole and giving skeletal support to the image through creative choice of viewpoint, focal length, field of view etcetera. We are not just behind the camera but somehow situated within the field of view that we ourselves create. Um, struggling to verbalise this one so I hope that the photo helps! Maybe I mean somehow that I offer you my eye to see through.
By now I was struggling to find anything to add to my selection. Then I realised that I could offer images that represented some key characteristics of myself as a photographer. I’m a keen photographer. Keen as Mustard?
and also I am perhaps a little eccentric about my choice of images and framing and also fond of a pun, visual or otherwise
OK. I’ll come clean. I just simply love this image and its use of negative space and the stark contrasts of light and dark and am always happy to use it. Any excuse will do.
I know that it could have been better (the egg for instance could have been repositioned to better effect.) I think it is valid in this context for other reasons too – after all, does not our choice of preferred photographs and our subject choices say a lot about who we are as photographers?
You could regard this final image as desperation
I might have done better to pile up my camera bodies and my lenses, extension tubes, tripods, filters, props, studio lights… That would surely have represented my inner photographer-as-acquisitive-gear-collector but that love of a pun? It had to come through again. Besides, I like the image – and, if you were to look very closely indeed, there is another selfie in there.
I have no idea what will happen and I really do not deserve any success after all of my dithering but it feels good to have taken part after so many weeks of being withdrawn and moody. I’m happy to be on the mend. Hopefully there will be new good photos soon.
I have until Jan 20th to get my Playing With Scale images sorted out. I promise myself that I shall have six intentionally-taken themed images worth submitting. I just need to be aware of how quickly time passes at this time of the year.