22 Nov 2010

Assignment 7 - I've never been to me

When Zahra announced the topic for this week, there was complete silence for at least thirty seconds. That doesn't sound like much, but when you are in a stuffy room with only the whir of the projector and your own crashing thoughts, it's enough time to see your life going before your eyes.

Self Portraits.

A couple of weeks ago, Zahra showed us the work of Shirin Neshat, and Iranian artist born in 1957 who has taken scores of self portraits. They are amazing. Not only because she is beautiful, but because she is passionate about her history, her sex and her race. And she has a story to tell. She is an American born Iranian, and has grown up with the contrasting views of Muslim Iran and the West, and her country has gone through a revolution that rocked the world.

I am a thirty-something sedentary housewife that is particularly lazy and gets my maid to do everything. I come from Australia (where I didn't have a maid), and the closest they have come to a revolution is a referendum concerning the English Monarchy that proved Australians are very happy with ER. (Don't know how they are going to feel about queen Camilla though...)

My life is too happy for me to have a story to tell in my portrait - I have a face that is reserved for backgrounds in holiday snaps.

It would help if at least I was skinny.

So I bought a tripod (I needed to anyway, because I love taking pictures at night), and thought about what was the most beautiful part of my body - maybe I could concentrate on that? I came up with about a square inch on my collarbone. But the problem was disassociating that from the rest of my body. It would have to be bigger. So I decided that if this ugly mug had to go on film, then I would be incognito, so I started by taking pictures with my sunglasses on, and leaving the camera on monotone, because as I have mentioned, I am deathly pale (with trashy red hair) and it really doesn't look good in colour.

Before long I realised that accessories were useful, and I got out my biggest dangliest earings, and thought I might be able to get a shot with that little bit of clavicle I mentioned. Soon I also figured out that an easy way to get oneself as far away as possible from the lens without having to do a full body shot is to use a mirror - as long as one is happy with the back of one's head.

Then I don't know what came over me - the photographer became a complete sleaze and kept on saying "a little more, Sarah, a little more...you can do it baby...", and before long I was giving full frontals and sprawling myself all over the floor. In technicolour.

At the end, I gave myself one shot that shows how I really feel about all this. Probably not a good one for the profile pic...

If you like these ramblings but are not interested in photography, check out my other blog:

submitted for I Heart Faces self- portrait: