Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Up Close and Personal (Self Portraits)

I very nearly went into this project with the idea to just hold out my phone and make a dumb face. Because, honestly, that's what comes to mind when I think if a self portrait. I just don't feel as awkward when it's not too serious. But that felt a little bit too... cheesy, I guess. Or immature, or something. Anyway, I decided not to go with that plan. So my next plan was to try to get pictures of things that represented who I am. I took a picture of my phone, which pretty much summed that up. And then I thought that that could get really old really quickly unless my photos were just really incredible. So, on to plan #3, which was to take pictures of myself but not really-- and there I think I pretty much got the rest of the project. Reflections abound! I also tried this thing where I thought I'd just take pictures of pieces of my face and then piece them together, but that just got weird. The only good picture to come of that is a close up of my eye.

Despite my serious dislike of being in front of a camera rather than behind, I'm finding that now that I've done a couple self portraits I really want to do more. Naturally, now that I've turned in the assignment I've been flooded with ideas that I didn't have last week. So, it's time to get up close and personal-- something I've never had a problem with with other subjects-- and push my own boundaries!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Praying for the Angel of Uncertainty

Watching the documentary of Sally mann, two things she said stood out to me:
1. The things that are close to you are the things you can photograph the best; 
2. that she is "praying for the angel of uncertainty."

Pretty much, the first one is just brilliant and also utterly true. I think you have to have a close relationship with a subject-- if it's a still life or landscape, it has to mean something to you, and if it's a person, they have to mean something to you. There has to be a personal relationship there that can be seen in the finished photograph if you expect you photo to invoke any kind of interest or feelings in your audience. At least, that's what I would say if I was the audience. Sally obviously nailed it in her photos of her children growing up, and I think in her others, there is still an emotional tie to some aspect of the photo that is practically tangible in her photos. 
As for the second statement, I first thought that it was such a weird thing for a photographer to say, being that I feel like photography has to be so exact sometimes to achieve the desired photo; then, after I thought about it, and after seeing some of her photos where something had gone wrong during the original exposure or the developing or the printing, I saw what she meant. Sometimes the unexpected imperfection is what makes a photo unique and beautiful. It sure worked for a lot of Mann's work. Like this one:

And, because her photos of her own children are really kind of inspirational to me, here are a few of my favorites: