You can’t see yourself. You know what you look like because of mirrors and photographs, but out there in the world, as you move among your fellow human beings, whether strangers or friends or the most intimate beloveds, your own face is invisible to you. . . We are all aliens to ourselves, and if we have any sense of who we are, it is only because we live inside the eyes of others.
~ Paul Auster, Winter Journal
Back in February, Otto from In Flow posted Facing up to Yourself, an excellent essay about self-portraits. In his post, Otto differentiates between selfies and self-portraits while leaving open the possibility that our selfies, when we add some depth to them, are self-portraits. At the end of the essay, we were asked if we would be willing to turn the camera on ourselves and I responded, “Yes.” Maybe not a resounding “Yes!!” because I am not fond of being in front of the camera, but a “yes” nonetheless.
I originally thought I would drag out my tripod and take self-portraits using the big camera. However, with the purchase of a new and smarter phone with a decent camera (I’m surprised by how good the photos can be from a cell phone camera!), I decided to use the phone. It’s easier, it’s quicker, and with the Pixlr app, I was able to do something that I had in mind when I first said yes to making some self-portraits. I wanted to use double exposure to incorporate something else about myself, to enhance the portraits with things I do and/or love. In the collage above (that I created for this post), I started with a plain photo in the upper left. Below that is a picture of me looking up from reading a book (and looking rather serious). The middle photo incorporates a photo I took of the newly flowering maple and oak tree branches (and my newly purpled hair). The top right is superimposed with trees from the park I was visiting on the day I took the photo of me. And the last expresses joy and magic after a few days of joy and magic entering my life.
Self-knowledge is not fully possible for human beings. We do not reside in a body, a mind or a world where it is achievable or from the point of being interesting, even desirable. Half of what lies in the heart and mind is potentiality; resides in the darkness of the unspoken and unarticulated and has not yet come into being: this hidden unspoken half of a person will supplant and subvert any present understandings we have about ourselves.
~ David Whyte, Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words
I think this is a project I will continue to work on from time to time and although it seems as if I’m hiding myself behind the double exposures, I’ve found that some of my self-portraits expose more about me than if I’d left them plain and simple. I’ve kept those to myself for now. Naturally. It’s not easy for me to post self-portraits.
Thanks for stopping by today. I hope to be back for this week’s coffee chat. If not, I’ll see you sometime next week.
Be good, be kind, be loving, be well. Just Be. 🙂