This week’s WPC theme is Experimental, as most of you are aware a lot of my photography, especially my Conceptual Portraits are quite experimental, but generally, through careful planning and sketches, mood boards and the like they come out as I have imagined them.
A few months ago I did a 20-day challenge with Brooke Shaden, in part to push myself further in my artistic endeavors, but also to try new things. One thing I really wanted to try was a self-portrait. I love Brooke’s self-portraits, but then she is young and thin and pretty and such an accomplished artists and would say ‘piffle’ to me, I know that for a fact! I am not thin or young or pretty and I am incredibly self-conscious in front of a camera, dumb and stupid I know, but I know I am not alone. The camera does not show us as we see ourselves, it may show how we appear to others, but not us.
So the topic for this image was Rebirth, and I envisioned wrapping myself up in a grungy, dirty cacoon and breaking free, being reborn as something beautiful, a butterfly. The concept is easy enough right? So feeling VERY experimental I hung some old sheets in the studio and setting my camera up on a tripod I wrapped myself in the sheet and took some photos of my hand coming out of a gap I made. It just looked weird and boring and not what I imagined. I wanted to break free. So I took several images of my faces pushing against the fabric and then my hands, so there appear to be many hands trying to all break free. I also added the smoke machine to add some mist and atmosphere.
As I was not used to doing all this self-portraiture, getting correct focus, and timing was awkward and difficult, but when I had put the final composition together I was oddly proud of this strange little piece. I know it will never win any awards or probably hang on someone’s wall, but being experimental and stepping out of your comfort zone is oddly freeing, so in essence perfect for the title of Rebirth as well.