Tuesday Viewsday XXXII: A Candid Self-Portrait

As the mercury in the thermometer seems to go back and forth around here, so does my travel schedule as of late. Last week, I found myself on the road to Ottawa; not the one in Canada, but the one right here in Illinois. While it was for work, I did stop off along the way and snapped a few images where I could. As for this week, I head out tomorrow morning for Minnesota for a work conference. I’m still excited, though, as the drive will be gorgeous as we will be following river valleys for most of the way. I’m hoping I will have time to get out a snap a few shots in between sessions.

Anyway, enough of my yapping, on with the photos! I’ll be honest – I have a tough time choosing images to discuss every week. Don’t worry; this isn’t me complaining and cancelling the Tuesday Viewsday stories. I just wanted to put it out there that it’s tough to open up to all of you about something so personal as my art and my vision, but I love doing it; once the ball is rolling and the “ink is on the page,” I have to remind myself you don’t have all day to chat about photography.

So, for today’s image, I went with a photograph of myself. It isn’t often that I do a self-portrait, but when I do, I try to capture something unique about myself.

Waiting for Rain

Waiting for Rain (2011) - A Self-Portrait of the Author Lying in a Bathtub

Waiting for Rain (2011)

I took this image during a lighting test for a concept shoot I was working on a few years ago. The concept is still being edited (read: I haven’t had a chance to edit them yet), but the idea was to document the subtle intimacy of a woman getting ready for an evening out on the town. One of the first images in the series is the model stepping into a bathtub and out of her robe followed by a shot of her laying in the tub, which is the basis for the photograph you see here.

It isn’t often that I actually look at my lighting tests in great detail, but when I imported this shot to the computer, I was spellbound. I spend so much time with my subjects, trying to capture their humanity in a truly raw and candid moment, that I often forget that I, too, have those moments.  It’s a lot harder to try to capture a candid moment of oneself, but in this photo, I did.

Reviewing this image is like looking into a mirror and not recognizing the person there; as humans, we often have an image in our heads of what we think others see us as, not just socially, but physically, and when we look in the mirror, it’s like seeing another person all together. That’s the same thing with these self-portraits, especially this one. With my eyes closed, I can see the weight of my life on my shoulders and how I use quiet moments like these to let go of all that, even if only for a small time.

I went with a black and white treatment here to really drive the focus of the eye into the subject. The color wasn’t really working to drive the story home here so I got rid of it. I also went with a classic Rule of Thirds cropping on this, allowing your eye to ride the first third of the image with me there, and using the negative space of the bathroom wall as a contrasting element, also to drive the eye down and right into the darkest part of the image, the subject… me.

What do you think? Does it work as a black and white? What about as a self-portrait?

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