Portrait Perspectives

Project 3: Portraiture - Photographing Beauty in Our Lives.

A photographer at heart, I've been taking photos since middle school with the first camera I ever owned. It was a Polaroid. Since then, and especially since camera phones were invented, I've always had a camera (presently a Cannon EOS Rebel T6 purchased by my ever so supporting husband) in my hand, sometimes to the chagrin of my family and friends.  I thought everyone loved taking or being in photos as much as I do. I was often mistaken yet, I remain undeterred and determined. + for the record, I am the self proclaimed Queen of the "selfie" having been proficient in self portraits since well before the phrase was coined. This is my untouched, fresh faced, make-up free work for Project 3.

With the direction of photographer, documentarian, researcher and educator of the Parsons Scholars Program, Kamal Badhey, I was able to reflect on a previous photography session putting into practice the  three points of her learning module (seen below) with a separate portrait subject. My final self portrait given this exercise, is directly related to the third learning objective.

1. The steps needed to create a portrait session with the people around me (see photos of model K.C. Strong below)

2. How to interact with a sitter before and during a photography session (see photos of model K.C. Strong below)

Ironically, last year to the day, I asked my daughter, the youngest of our children to sit for me. As an aspiring model in the making, she so graciously agreed and the next three photos are a part of that outcome (related to points 1 & 2). I often like to say she is the "mini-mayvin" (Mom just can't help herself!) but I love this young lady's individuality and as one of my favorite photo subjects, her beautiful spirit always illuminates and shines through.

Now to the final point of the learning module... 

3. How to experiment with lighting and perspective by trying different angles

This was the most beautiful and most impactful shot to me and after a undisclosed number of attempts, I finally got the shadow shot I intended. The intensity, mood and blurred background evokes my feelings on this particular day. I wonder what viewers will see in my eyes as I believe they are indeed the windows into the soul. 

Synopsis: Though the ankh tattooed near my shoulder is a reminder to me and representation of "life", there are many more individual meanings that regularly come to mind when I see it reflected in the mirror each day. The attempt for this photo was to cast a dark shadow across my face (however not to cover it completely) and at a distance, giving the appearance that the shadow isn't really a shadow at all but instead a black, powdery makeup. The shadow is intended to represent the personal "shadow work" I have been so consciously focused on doing in loving support of my mental health through the assistance of art expression. So, in essence, the ankh was purposefully not the focal point for this shot, though I wanted it to be seen as its importance remains. The ankh is an Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol which translates as "breath of life" and on this day, I remember feeling the struggle to breathe. It is a proponent of the overwhelming anxiety (I call it the elephant on my chest) that so often appears when I struggle to grasp the gratitude of the life I know I am currently living well. My hand is gently placed as a comfort in representation of the equivalent of "laying hands upon oneself" to heal in my ancestral way. This is my intimate, authentic truth.

Further inspired to physically paint a picture of the moment, this is: "Untitled" - acrylic painting inspired by the shadow work of life

"Untitled" - acrylic painting inspired by the shadow work of life


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