Thursday, December 10, 2009

Girl, Removed

I was reading this post over at Shutter Sisters about how hard it is for a photographer to turn the camera on herself. That struck me as odd because I don't usually have a big problem with it. I mean, I'm not in a ton of photos, I'm usually the documentarian. I tell everyone to go ride the four wheelers or pose with the tree or hold the dog and I'm OK. It's more important to me that the moment be preserved. I hoard the moments. Sometimes I wish other people were documenting me but again, it's the moment that's far more valuable in my system.

Then I thought about the photos I do take of myself. There are the ones I snap quickly here at work, the ones of my head surgery, the occasional party photo. I wondered why they didn't bother me the way this woman was bothered. It's not that I'm completely unselfconscious. I mean, if that were true I wouldn't be taking photos at all I'd be out riding the four wheelers and going on the auditions and singing the karaoke instead of greedily grabbing each moment to lock up tight inside my camera.

I think at least a part of it is that if I classify each photo as documenting the event then it doesn't matter what I look like. It's just recording for posterity. Here's the new ring I got, here's what I look like at this weight, here we are with Santa, here's what I look like with 20 stitches in my head. I, in essence, remove myself from the photos in order to make it OK that they're taken.

Isn't that interesting?

Dare to link to a photo of yourself? Something you don't normally use on the internet?


  1. see i never thought of it as documentarian style. i guess since as a photographer i too am creating a memory when shooting others, forever preserving it via my image, so turning the camera around on me seems not for any real reason or moment. perhaps that is what makes it more difficult. your perspective of just documenting it does make it sound like that would ease some of the anxiety. thanks for your counter post. glad it made you think.

  2. i love your photos. and I know, than when I need you to, I can grab you by the earlobe and force you to smile as my arm snakes out in front to push the button. I've got many a pic of us! and I love all of them!