Sunday, November 20, 2016

Embody


"Dance like no one is watching,
Sing like no one is listening,
Love like you've never been hurt,
Live like it's Heaven on earth."
~Mark Twain

I love self-portraiture photography! I LOVE the shocked look on peoples' faces when I tell them I am taking a self-portrait photography class.


Last year I did quite a bit of self-portrait work with Vivienne McMaster and the various e-courses she offers on the subject. I loved the challenge of figuring out best body angle for the camera. I loved figuring out the technical stuff, i.e. focus, depth of field, perspective, post-processing. I loved the confidence I gained in my skills and myself by doing the work.


So many of the self-portraits I took last year I treasure deeply, especially the ones I took with my dog Scout. Although he is no longer with us, I have these precious photos forever.


This year there hasn't even been a hint of self-portrait photography, not that Vivienne hasn't been offering classes, she has, and I have been tempted by a couple of them, but in the end I always said "no", I wasn't ready. That all changed at the end of October when an email from Vivienne popped into my inbox. She was offering a new e-course called Embody - Getting our whole body into the frame. I personally would prefer to have my whole body in the frame, that fits the story of my photography.


I read the email and immediately signed up. The course started November 1st and ran for fifteen days. The perfect amount of time. The course came with daily encouragement emails, a prompt to work on for the day, and a private Flickr group for sharing our work. I love community.  But I always feel like a masquerader in these groups, I don't struggle with the body issues that many are working through. But...if I am completely honest with myself, I signed up for the full body self-portrait class because I would rather shoot my whole body, positioned the way I know I can to make it look thinner, than take a close-up of my face. Maybe I do belong in this community after all.


Self-portraiture photography is a lot like riding a bike, once you learn you never forget, so it didn't take me long to get back in the swing of it.


It was interesting once I finished the course to look back and see the progression in myself. I started out wearing the same Patagonia fleece everyday, most often either in hiking pants or yoga pants, which given that I am an active outdoor person is a true reflection of me. I incorporated the daily shot into my normal daily routine. But by Day 4, I picked a location with intention, brought my tripod, used my past experience to get great light and good focus. Then by Day 7, I was setting up scenes and picking outfits. The wardrobe selections continued to ramp up from there, the last day I wore one of my favorite outfits. Once the class was done, I went shopping. I shopped with intention, thinking about how an outfit would look in a self-portrait.


I have been toying with the idea of a 52 week self-portrait challenge for 2017, although I had convinced myself this week that that was a dumb idea. I already had a 52 week photography project I was working on, I didn't need two. Then, of course, the next email arrived. Vivienne is doing a year long self-portrait photography class called Body Peace. I am an epic fail at year long classes. But...self-portraiture photography is the reason this blog began in the first place. What if 2017 was the year that I finally completed a year long class because it was the right year long class...


I guess I will be working on those close-up, face issues in eight 15 day e-courses over the next year, or I will be wearing a Burqa for a whole year. Stay tuned...

21 comments:

  1. Excellent photos. Count me in as fan and follower of your blog.

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  2. Oh my Sarah . . .
    I liked this very much . . .
    I hope others read you as well as see you . . .
    Learning more about self portrait
    and Sarah . . . in 2017 will certainly be my
    "looking forward to" . . .
    (I like your textures, colors, clothing choices!)

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  3. You can do it! These photos are wonderful! Your first photo was an excellent way to begin your post - you captured something very special in that one - which I suspect is YOU. I'm very uncomfortable doing self-portraits - but watching you may convince me to get out of my comfort zone - someday. Wearing a burqa -lol!- I'm not sure that would really be you - besides, you have a wonderful face - this will be about capturing "the real you" in your expressions. I'm staying tuned!

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  4. Wonderful self-portrait shots of you, Sarah. I was thinking of doing another self-portrait class next year too. The first one I did was to celebrate a BIG birthday three years ago. Now I'm ready to have another go! Judging by these shots, you're doing so well!

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  5. More and more, I wish I'd taken that Embody class with you! You know why I didn't, but I can see how much you got out of it, and I know how much I learned from Vivienne's classes that I took last year. (I'd recommend Be Your Own Beloved to anyone who feels uncomfortable about being in front of the camera.) I'd still like to do a self-portrait project...I have images in my head...but I'm not sure what I want to do. Still thinking about this, while looking forward to seeing yours!

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  6. Hi Sarah, I love this idea - the year long self-portraiture! Mostly I love seeing you find yourself and try out different ideas, just like trying on different outfits. You've inspired me, over this last, year to bring myself into my pictures more often. I am definitely one of the women with body image issues, and I'm making progress - seeing myself with wide-open love. Can't wait to see how this all unfolds for you!

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  7. Sarah, Love the photographs. I can see the confidence in your eyes. I hope you will continue to share. Happy Sunday!

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  8. Well, that is certainly one way to make sure you get in some photos. Always being behind the camera makes me somewhat invisible. Your portraits are very creative.

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  9. You have such a look of content on your face. Self portraits is a great way about not only learning about the camera...but of self discovery.

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  10. Hello my friend, I am so glad you had the chance to take another one of Vivian's classes. It it because of you I took a few also and it really did change me. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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  11. Good for you, Sarah, and I do hope you will share with us here.
    Happy day to you!

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  12. I love your self portraits. And your ability to be proud of yourself and your photography. Why do we always hesitate to see ourselves as others see us. Why are we critical? Self portraits are a way of accepting you as a complete person. Please continue to show us your marvelous pictures.

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  13. Lovely self portraits filled with confidence! I'll be looking forward to many more this next year. Oh, could you just drop by and so some shopping for me? Love your outfits!

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  14. You have inspired me to sign up for a self portrait class since I am having a BIG birthday next week. I don't like being in front of the camera and if I can gain just half of the confidence you have since starting this adventure, I will be a happy gal....Your self portraits show your love of life and a good adventure...It's written all over your face....

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  15. Oh boy, that sounds like a mega challenge to me..I'll keep my eye on you...you captured some nice work here...glad you enjoyed this course.

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  16. Sarah you are such a big inspiration to me and to so many. l
    Lovely Lovely images of you and your work.

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  17. Go for it! You do great self portrait work. I look for ward to more goodies (and new clothes).

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  18. It looks like I am in agreement with everyone else...I love your self portrait work too. :) I can tell you have really have worked with your self portraiture skills and have a vision before you begin your 'photo shoot'. I stink at year long projects too...well, even shorter projects. Maybe that means I need a project to get me going... Have a great week!

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  19. I envy and admire your continued drive to learn and challenge yourself in photography. Your self-photography has already impressed me, I am excited to see your skill level growth moving forward.

    Plus: excuse to buy new clothes. :)

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  20. Add me to the list; I love your self-portrait work, too. Maybe the November class was like dipping a foot into the water to see if it's warm enough to swim, and the 2017 class is the perfect next class. I've never been brave enough to sign up for a year-long class, always feeling I'd have to give up too much in order to have the time. And there are things I just can't give up, like geocaching every day, and quilting. But maybe in 2017, that perfect photography class will come along.

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  21. Great photos!! I love your idea and your salf-portrait work.You are an inspiration for me because I'm not feel confident when I see my body in a photo!I want to learn from your words!!!

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Thank you so much for visiting today and taking the time to read my thoughts on life. :)