It's been exactly one year since I last stood in front of my camera and opened up my soul.
That may not come as a shock to you, but self-portraits are the very roots of my photography.
Like a lot of photographers in my generation, I found that the most practical way of teaching myself how to take photographs was by balancing the camera on a chair, setting the timer and running to get into position...
...Okay, that doesn't sound practical at all, but at age 14 when you're stuck at home with no siblings and very few friends (and your cat was more willing to model for you than your friends were), it's just about the only option left.
6 years later, the process was getting tiring, and although I now had a tripod and shutter remote to make things a little easier, I longed to be able to put someone else in front of the camera and have full control of the photographs.
With influence from fashion editorials online and in magazines, and encouragement from friends and family to pursue photography as a career, I persuaded some friends and strangers to model for me, and the experience was fantastic!I never thought I'd be able to achieve the results I had envisioned if it wasn't me in front of the camera, but I got more than I had hoped for.
I was slowly starting to build a portfolio, but I felt the one thing that was missing was exposure. I didn't have a website and only used a few social media platforms and I wasn't very popular on them at all.
I decided to invest some time in marketing. I needed to build a website, advertise, connect with people, join more social networking sites, tag correctly... surely, after a few weeks of this, everyone would be going crazy for me.
It's been a year. One whole year, to the date. 18th July 2013 was the last self-portrait I took, and in the space of the last 365 days I have been marketing, marketing, marketing.
The truth is, it doesn't really get you anywhere. It may get you more likes for your Facebook page, more followers on Instagram, a few potential bookings. But in terms of my development as an artist? I've shot 2 portrait shoots and a wedding. In a year.
It's time to stop trying to "make it" and actually start making it.
I treated myself to a basic light set up of a light stand, umbrella and transceivers, set up my unused back drop and began to shoot my self in nothing other than a hat and blouse.
Turns out, this is probably the best self-portrait I've ever taken.
This self-portrait represents two stages in my life.
The first, was when I left my creativity behind in the story above.
The second, was today. What would emotions look like if they were physical? All of the emotional stress I have put myself through in trying to become this "idea" of a photographer is displayed as physical cuts and bruises, but in the end i'm still the same human being who takes photographs.
More deeply, it's a cry for help for a personal part of my life, one which even I can't explain so it would be useless trying to write about it.
Thank you for reading.