I didn't want to go out tonight. It was late, I had returned from a trip & I was tired. But, dammit, I didn't get a portrait... I decided I would make this Self Portrait Day. I poured a glass of chardonnay and set up the lights & tripod upstairs. I had the place to myself, so I put on some music, and was looking forward to experimenting with this.
Self portraits are a curious thing. You can experiment with expression, poses, lighting, and get into different characters because there is no one watching you, no one judging... but then something happens: You realize that you, yourself start to criticize. You are looking straight into the eyes of your worst critic, and she comes on strong, She sees the lines in your face, she points out how you are not like those models in the magazines, she cringes at the still frames that capture the side of yourself that you try to hide when you walk out your door, and she tells you these are what the world sees... Then you begin to have this conversation between your two selves; the critical one and the one who adores you.
At the end of it all, your wine glass is empty, you turn off the lights, and you find that there are photos you love, photos you hate, and photos that just exist. You see that ego is a delicate creature, and realize that none of these photos define you. They all just exist as a slice in time, and you make of them what you will... I fell asleep happy to have experienced the roller coaster of emotions that came from my portrait session. I think it's a good thing to do every so often, to see the various sides of you so that you can fight for the adoring side to win. Because no matter what imperfections you see, you are still a beautiful soul, growing older in this world, and like my mom always says, "it beats the alternative."