Taking a self-portrait seems like a simple task. The subject is always available, the photographer is ready at any moment and the scheme, backdrop and mechanics of the situation are all within one’s control. Yet, the simplicity of assignment #1 – to take a self-portrait – is, as I quickly learned, exceptionally deceiving.
One cannot, physically and scientifically, be in two places at once. Thus, one relies on a timer to take his or her photograph. One must trust that the lighting and spacing etc. he or she has prepared will make for a decent self-portrait, and, one must take numerous sets of photographs after reviewing prior portraits, and making proper adjustments according to such.
For a perfectionist, the self-portrait may be the most troublesome, frustrating and time-hungry assignment, for he or she may never be truly satisfied with the final product. I find myself in that category, as I simultaneously realize how awkward and uncomfortable I am in front of the camera, especially when I’m the one taking the photograph – via timer. It’s easy to be “too posed” in a self-portrait, for the situation is in many ways unnatural. Yet, after completing this assignment, I realize that I no longer “fear” the self-portrait, but would like to move forward in the art of such – to experiment, to take more photographs of myself and to tell a story and perhaps learn more about myself through each new self-portrait.
I also wish I would have decided to be a self-portrait perfectionist earlier in the day, when there was more daylight, for I was forced to turn on a lamp for certain shots, and, thus, had to use Photoshop to remove shadows and edit some of the photographs.