On How My Camera Found Me…
I’m back from California, full of vision for the rest of the year. Filled up. I will write more in depth about the experience I had later on, once I feel like I’ve been able to accurately process everything. I’ve spent about 5 hours so far just writing things down, making sense of things that are swirling around in my brain and I still don’t feel like I’ve come close to finishing. But I did want to share this one image and one bit of experience with you all…
One of the things that stuck with me that was spoken about at the workshop I attended was to give up control. This was something that resonated with me and that kept revealing itself to me as both speakers and attendees shared throughout the trip. So much of what I do as an artist has to do with me controlling every aspect of the creation and I realized that as I release pieces of that to the universe or to circumstance or to fate (whatever you want to call it) I see such beautiful things unveil themselves. Art really is more than just talent or equipment. It has such an element of timing and cohesion. All these factors come together for a moment and if we’re lucky we get to keep it in a photograph.
On the Pacific Coast, the morning after the workshop concluded I walked through the fog mesmerized by the expansiveness of this very different ocean from the one that I am used to. I fully understand why the Greeks ascribed so many powerful traits to Poseidon. As the waves built and crashed against black rocks and black sand I felt as if I should bow a bit to it’s majesty.
I took a bunch of photos of pieces of that tiny portion of this world that moved me when I saw them and I very much wanted to document myself there as well. I’m not a huge fan (or a fan at all) of photos of myself and since having a baby and all the things that the experience does to your body, I’ve felt very lost in this new flesh. I look in mirrors and don’t see myself. So I’ve been very nervous about having my photos taken recently.
Taking self portraits by yourself is always a bit tricky. Especially when, like me, you are rarely prepared for the elements you’re encountering. I never carry a tripod with me. I balanced my camera on some rocks, set it, and ran to the spot where I thought I should stand. 10 minutes, and not one acceptable image later I was frustrated. Then I remembered that I needed to give up some of the control over this process. I took my hair down and let the ocean wind air dry it as I set the camera up one last time. I set the timer and allowed myself to let go. And then I looked into my camera as if it was a living entity. I let myself be seen by it. I didn’t pose. I didn’t try. I just was there, in that moment, giving up control to my camera and it’s timer. And then this photograph happened.
This is the first photograph that has been taken in probably over a year that I see myself in. I look at it and see who I am inside my head. The me, that I know because I’m trapped in this body with her but the me that rarely ever shows up in pictures. I wonder if others looking at this image will notice any difference at all. But to me, this is a precious photograph. And I thanked my camera, even kissed it for taking it for me.
Thanks Noa for the inspiration.