a study of self

aged 33-35 years.

self portraits taken consecutively, one every month for two years during the most tumultuous time of my life to date. these 24 months began as stay-at-home-motherhood and quickly rode the rollercoaster to separation, single motherhood, illness to divorce to freedom. nothing will ever replicate this. seeing it now i realized that it could have only been created like this: in hindsight. dare i say this time in my life shall never be repeated. it reads like a book starting in the upper left hand corner, viewing left to right.

a study of self.
march 2008-march 2010 

i went to a photography lecture on friday night, i found his discussion and slideshow breathtaking. it’s fascinating to me how hundreds of people can sit in an auditorium with the lights dimmed and each walk away with something different.

he began his talk stating “i’m not a touchy feely man. i was born, and well, i have to deal with that.” as he skimmed through old black and whites taken with his kodak brownie, he labeled these archives “juvenilia” … it seemed his quest was internal, wondering what it was about “the soup” he came from that made him the artist he is.

strangely (to me, because i am endlessly obsessed with the human emotion captured by photography) he does not find people ‘interesting’ and therefore does minimal portraits. so he blew through a series of self portraits that i found most interesting, i would have paused the frame on each one. self portraits are most revealing, and perhaps that is why he brushed them off as nothing but exploration in exposure from his youth. needless to say, i left there inspired and wanting to do something with the first self portrait i had ever taken with my nikon.

i pulled it up out of the archives and dusted off the cobwebs. that time in my life was full of deep sadness. something was stretching and growing and had not yet changed but was about to burst at the seams. growth is painful, as anyone knows. that time was full of sadness for the hurt i was about to cause. full of disbelief in my own strength of person.

i looked through my archives and found these two images. both taken on march 29th with two years in between.

there is something interesting about this, this visual space of two years. the image on the left was the first true self portrait i took with my nikon. the black and white photo on the right was taken the morning after my nikon died. when i pulled up this file with matching dates i had no idea what to expect. as the image revealed itself on my desktop i heard myself say aloud to no one other than the cat, “huh. interesting.” to me, it all makes sense. these two years start and end with a time in my life of contemplating why things die.

this is a study of self.