27 October 2013


Spent a long time today drinking coffee with the camera pointed at me, set to shoot at ten-second intervals. Took some with the 50mm lens and some with the 31mm. Found myself wishing that I had a darker coffee cup and also a smaller coffee cup. The giant Atka mug kept dominating the photos:

ISO 400
31mm lens (~47mm equivalent)

I'm sitting at a counter in front of a south-facing window. It's a clear day, so the light was too strong except when it passed behind the trees. I might like this photo with a smaller, darker mug. I did get a few that I liked:

ISO 400
50mm lens (~75mm equivalent)

On the one hand, this is a much less silly photo than the previous one. On the other, I think it lacks the element of self-awareness that characterizes good self-portraits. This could have been taken by anyone. It's just mimicking a portrait taken by somebody else. Whereas the top one, with the staring eye, seems more like a self-portrait even though I don't like it as much. I'll just have to keep at it.

Two self-portraits I like:

Lee Friedlander. This one cracks me up. He's intentionally "failed" to hide the camera (its shadow is on the hood), which subverts the entire scene (there's no question that he's not really driving). That's the kind of self-awareness or intentionality I'm talking about. I also like this one because the self-portraits of photographers with their cameras to their eye get tiresome fast. Here's an exception, by Ilse Bing:

Two mirrors, obviously. I like it because the curtain fills in the composition perfectly, and there's something arresting in the way the two iterations of the camera are aimed exactly 90ยบ apart, and the front-on face in one mirror and the perfect profile in the other.

I'll keep at it. Don't think I'll turn in either of the above.

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