A few days ago, my friend Angie asked me if I would be interested in taking an online photography course.
“Sure. I would love to.”
I believe that all artists need to cultivate their creativity and think that any and all opportunities to do so should be entertained. As a photographer, it is super easy to fall into a rut. Same shot. Same lens. Same processing. Whenever I have taken a course or a workshop, I always felt recharged and felt that my creativity tank was full afterward. And have always been thankful that I did it.
I forgot to ask what the course was about. Oops.
Turns out it is about me.
As in, me, in front of the camera.
Oh. My. God.
Once I got over the initial shock, I realized that this was going to be hard for me. But something that I need to do nonetheless. I am very comfortable behind the lens, but not so much in front of the lens. My insecurities always get the better of me. I have no makeup on. I am feeling fat today. Haven’t I been wearing this outfit for the last five years? Is that a zit coming on?
As a mom of 3, I don’t have the time and energy to devote to myself like I once did. It is easy to live your life in gym clothes. It is easy to fall into the trap of, “no one sees me other than my children and husband.” It is easy to make yourself last.
And then I got to thinking. How will my children remember me? Will they remember the 34 year old version of me years and years from now? Most likely not. Will they only remember me wearing black yoga pants every day and my hair in a ponytail? Will they remember me wearing my purple glasses?
So I did it. I got in front of the camera. I did it more than once. I needed to take 20 self-portraits by the end of the week and I did it.
I put makeup on most days this week. I put on something other than yoga pants. I wore my hair down. Huge accomplishments.
Most shots, I threw out, I was unkind to myself. Harsh even. After a period of self-loathing, I got my wits about me and I took a second look. I might not look the way that I want to look in every picture, but I do look one way in all of them. Happy. I look happy. And content. And loved by all of the people in the pictures with me.
I think that I will be thankful for this creativity exercise after all.
If you are wondering why my children and I are making that bizarre face, it is because we are pretending to be Rivercats. Obvi.
If you want to see the rest of my self-portraits, I made a set on my flickr page.