We often hear the phrase "intentional relationship", which means we purposefully choose to create a rich, lasting relationship with someone. In the month of June I chose to have an intentional relationship with myself through the process of a self-portraiture class.
I just finished Vivienne McMaster's June session of Be Your Own Beloved. I first took the class in February when winter was in full force here in Michigan. I wanted to take the class again partly because I wanted to do the prompts outside in warmer weather, without layers and layers of clothing on. But the main reason why I wanted to take the class again was because I wanted to be more intentional with my shots this time, planning and staging exactly what I wanted to do. Some would say this is counter productive to the class, the class is about excepting yourself as you are and photographing yourself in the moment. Well, honestly I don't dislike my body, sure there are things I wish I could change, doesn't everybody have that. For the most part I except my body the way it is. What I wanted to continue to learn was how to best photograph myself, finding the right angle to stand, finding the best light, giving the camera the least amount of body surface space, this naturally makes you look thinner. I learned so much about photography and photographing people when I did the class last time, I wanted to continue to hone those skills. Sure I could do this anytime, I don't need class prompts to go out and take self-portraits, but there is something about the community in classes, especially photography classes that motivates me more than I can motivate myself alone.
One thing I found interesting with this session of BYOB, is that I did almost all full body shots and very few body parts only shots.
I don't think there is any particular reason for this, other than I knew what I wanted to do this time and where I wanted to take my shots. I wanted to include myself in the landscape and in the areas that I love to explore.
I loved finding my reflection in old windows and doors on my walking explorations.
I probably used my Canon T2i on a tripod about the same amount as I used my iPhone 6 on its little tripod in this session. I have gotten very good at walking fast to my marked spot because the remote for the Canon doesn't have the range that I need it to have.
For the shot above, I probably looked like a homeless lady lugging my gear along the boardwalk in a tall, brown, plastic clothes basket that was strapped to a collapsible luggage cart. But it works great, the clothes basket is tall enough to hold my two tripods, one to put my camera on, one to use as a place holder for my body, that makes it so much easier to focus the camera. I was also lugging around some photo props, and an old yoga mat to lie on if I wanted to set the camera on the ground for a shot.
Doing self-portraiture is also great for getting new profile pictures for my social media accounts, ones I know I will like.
I plan on continuing to build this intentional relationship with myself. In fact, I just started Vivienne's latest class - Be Your Own Light - working with light and self-portraiture. I bet there is still room if you want to join us...