Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Real Slim Shady

I am what you'd call a photographer. This is not to be confused with photogenic. I am not what you'd call photogenic. I tell people, "There is a reason I stay behind the lens." Most photographs of me are not anything I'd show with any modicum of comfort. There have been very, very few posted on Latent Images, and for good reason. I don't like to scare new readers away. In fact, the only ones posted of me here are of me with Zozer, and it's only so when she grows up she has some photographic evidence that Mommy doesn't indeed have a Nikon permanently attached to her face.

I figure, in real life I'm not all that scary. It's just those small nanoseconds of time, frozen forever by the camera, where I look like a freak of nature. Something is always funky looking. Hair. Smudged eye makeup. Double chin. Wrinkles around the eyes that I never see when I'm looking in the mirror but are deeper than the Grand Freakin' Canyon in photographs. One favorite uncle has a penchant for blowing me out with the flash, and because I'm already pale (and proud of it! no skin cancer for me!) I look practically morbid in his shots. I also typically look like I'm trying too hard to appear happy or relaxed, which absolutely results in neither.

The worst assignment, bar none, in photo class a few years ago was having to submit self-portraits. Ugh. I sweated just making them. Then I sweated more having to post them for the class to critique. My instructor asked, "Why are you so far away in these shots?" Ummmm, because I look absolutely horrid and I'd like to actually pass this class?

But, you know, people on my favorite photography web site post self-portraits with their bios, and they're always cool and creative, and there's a place on the Latent Images template where I can post my own self-portrait or some photograph that I'd like to represent me which I've always wanted to do but didn't want to look like Gloria Swanson at the end of Sunset Boulevard (again with the scaring new readers away).

So I've been sorta looking for opportunities to make a self portrait lately, and this week I think I found something I could live with. At least for now. It's me, and my camera (of course) and it doesn't look all that frightening. The setting sun came through the window and I walked by and saw my tripod's silhouette perfectly framed against the wall. Bingo. Snapped the camera in (thank you Bogen quick release!), set up the shot and clicked away. Figured it would be nice to end my photo-a-day-for-a-month project with an artistic shot of the photographer.

I had to fool with it a bit to get something I thought would work, but it's just funky enough that I like it. The outline isn't perfect (I was shooting with like a 2 second shutter speed, for Pete's sake, you hold perfectly still when you're crouched awkwardly next to your tripod to fit in the frame), which it turns out I like (I can blame the double chin on that, not on, you know, my actual double chin), and you can see the pattern of the window screen on the wall, which I like, too. It's all a little ambiguous and mysterious. I'd like to be more mysterious overall, but I kinda blew that two years ago when I started pouring my heart out here in cyberspace for anyone to read. Hell, once you write about people who hang plastic testicles from their vehicles on your blog, it's hard to be mysterious.

For you non-photographers out there, I'm using a cable release to trip the shutter, which avoids moving the camera unnecessarily and which creates a lovely little swoopy line on the wall that fills that otherwise empty space on the right.

For any readers who haven't met me, well, there I am. For my mother...yes, I cut all my hair off. Again. No, I don't look like a boy, or a chemo patient, so you can keep those comments to yourself this time.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, you DO look like Eminem in this photo!!!

Fucking cool, Aim - nice job!

5:50 PM  

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