Sunday, June 15, 2014
I am conscious of the fact that an awful lot of my pictures are similar - full body shots of me standing (often in or in front of a doorway), dressed in different things - but mostly naked. It's partly my approach to portrait photography, and partly the limitations of the places I have to shoot, but, unless I am unfairly displacing the blame, I think it has mostly to do with the limitations of self-portrait photography. As a photographer, it is unfortunate that I do not have any other models to work with, but as a model, I have often lamented - to myself if not anyone else - the fact that I do not regularly hang out with a photographer.
You can look at it either way, and as a person with experience - and interest - both as a photographer and a model, I could personally go either way (and would appreciate the opportunity to try both). As a photographer, I'd love to hang out with a beautiful model, in an everyday capacity, and take casual pictures of her, or use that everyday experience to inspire new photographic ideas. And, knowing this, I can also look at it the other way. As a model, when I'm out and about, in an everyday capacity, I often wish I had somebody around to take pictures of me - especially to document a lot of the cute and sexy outfits I wear when I'm not naked.
Not being a social butterfly, I've partly made up for this state of affairs by being (as a model) my own photographer, and (as a photographer) my own model - i.e., by practicing self-portrait photography. But it's not a perfect solution, due to the limitations intrinsic to the practice. In the first place, it's really hard to get good pictures of something you can't stand back and look at. Also, since you're not holding the camera when you take the shot, you need some kind of tripod, or some other way to set up the camera. At home, this is not such a big deal (which is why I shoot at home so much) - although it limits the kind of ready angles you can shoot from, and takes a lot of the "exploring" process of the photographer's eye out of the equation, which results in much of a "samey" feel to a lot of my pictures.
But out in public, setting up a tripod turns the whole process of getting a picture into a big production. Imagine the ease with which somebody can whip out a cellphone and quickly snap a pic of a friend in a public place, compared to some weirdo setting up a tripod and getting in people's ways, especially considering all the paranoia about pictures and the internet and "you're not taking pictures of my kids are you?!" - even when it's pretty clear you're not. Sometimes it's just not practical (or generally permitted) to take the time to set up a tripod, and, besides, doing so really draws attention to what you're doing. As someone who easily gets self-conscious, I am just as likely to not take a picture as take the time being the center of attention to get the shot I want.
So I feel like a lot of potentially great shots are being missed, because of the way I'm sort of trapped inside my own photographic subject, and how it limits the way I see (and can shoot) myself. For example, the other day I was in the park in a really cute pair of pink shorts during a rainstorm (sheltered under a pavilion), and, naturally, as a photographer, I thought to myself that I could have gotten some great pictures of me sitting or standing out there in the middle of a storm. What I wouldn't have given for either a) a photographer companion to get some great shots of me for me, or b) a beautiful model companion to take pictures of instead. Think of all the great shots I could be taking, that I'm missing out on!
So anyway, if I had a muse, I'd be constantly checking her out, and undoubtedly getting photo ideas all day long. I know this because, whenever there are mirrors set up in my house - and I like to have lots of mirrors set up in my house - not because I'm narcissistic, but because it facilitates my craft - it's getting a glance of myself in the mirror that freqeuently sets off my photographic impulse. And so it was, that I was sitting at the table reading a book just after finishing breakfast, and I happened to glance over and get a glimpse of myself in the mirror and thought, that would make a great picture - and out the camera came. And see the result? Now I just wish it were easier to churn out pictures like this more often.