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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Selfies, Selphy, Self


My very first selfie taken in Mexico, 2013
I cannot take selfies…I cannot tell a lie. First, it never occurs to me that I want a picture that I am in. After all, I have an image in my head of what I look like and I feel perfectly fine until faced with irrefutable proof that it is wrong. Second, it’s hard to hold a heavy camera out far enough and I still end up with more chins than are necessary. Third, I actually don’t have a smart phone. I have a cell phone that has actual individual buttons that I have to actually individually press and so there is no screen where I can see what is in the picture if what I want in the picture is in front of the lens. So, I can only guess and apparently my self image also has a very different idea of my location than reality will confirm and so I am rarely even in the photo even if I try to be.

I’m not one of those people who refuses to be in photos because my hair isn’t right or my makeup isn’t on. I just don’t want to take those pictures for myself. Other people can see very clearly what I look like and so accept a photo of me as something that actually reminds them of me, whereas I cannot see me and am perfectly happy remembering what other people look like and what I felt like while I was taking their picture. Someone, who shall remain nameless, took a picture of me while I was joking about taking selfies with a big camera and then had the nerve to post that photo on Facebook and it was exactly the photo I have in mind when I think about bad photos. It’s all upper arms and double chins combined with it looking like I actually take photos of myself with a telephoto lens.

Self Portrait in Gatewood @ UNCG
I will now spend the rest of my life indoors.

But, I won’t suffer for it because now I have the cutest little photo printer ever: the Canon Selphy. Since I only have about 10,000 more photos from Mexico that I need to print and put in my photo albums that should keep me busy roughly until the earth crashes into the sun. The only thing I can’t figure out is how to send the pictures directly from my computer to the printer. Instead, I have been putting them on a memory card and then moving that from my computer to the memory card slot on the machine. I haven’t spent a lot of time trying to fix that though because I am so excited to print that I can’t be bothered.

The printer uses a dye sublimation process for printing and the quality is fantastic. It pulls the little piece of paper through four times, the first time it prints all of the yellows, the second pass prints all of the magenta, and the third prints all of the cyan. Then it goes through a final pass where it lays down a semi-gloss clear finish that keeps the pictures from smudging or scratching…et voila! The kids are really enjoying watching it because you can see the picture after each pass so it’s like watching it appear – almost like the fun of old school developing but without the chemicals from that which cause cancer (it’s probably just a whole new batch of cancer causing chemicals…) So far I have printed 100 images and it’s still going strong – it is also super easy to load paper and ink and hardly takes up any space at all. That’s the size I needed too since I hardly have any space at all…you know because I have things to strew all over my desk.
First Photo in Self Portrait Project

I renewed my subscription to Lynda.com because I missed the tutorials. Yesterday I watched on of The Practicing Photographer tutorials with Ben Long. He outlined an interesting project that I would like to do if I could just come up with an idea. It’s a year long project that requires me to pick a frequency (daily, weekly, bi-weekly, etc.) a scope (anywhere, my city, my neighborhood, my yard, my chair, etc.) and a subject (an object, a color, a cliché, an emotion, etc.) Then, I would have to carry that out and at the end of the year I would have a pretty interesting collection of images…if I had any ideas. Right now, I’m drawing a blank.

Self Portrait #2: Hands
The only thing I keep coming back to are self-portraits because I hate the way I look in most photos, because I am always available to me, because people are interesting subjects, and because I will be extremely patient. I could mess around with lighting, makeup, costume, setting, etc. I think I would just like some more parameters for myself, but maybe if I just start doing it, the things I need to try will become more apparent. What I don’t want are a series of my face in the camera, filling the frame. I’m not interested in watching my face change over time like those series that some people have done (which are amazing, just not what I’m trying to focus on here). I’m more interested in the self-portrait as a subject. I found this fantastic compilation of 100 seriously cool self-portraits - there's a lot of interesting things to think about!

Hmmm…maybe I’ve just had my idea, right here.

You’re such a good listener!