After loving the outcome of flinging myself around our back garden to create my first set of experimental self portraits, I knew I wanted my next set to have the same sort of theme, but be a little bit more dramatic by way of movement.
When another clear day arrived, I followed the first three steps as I did previously; set up a ten second timer, popped my camera on the ground (with a small object to prop it up, rather than it lay flat) and focused the camera as best as I could from a distance. This time I clambered up on one of our metal chairs, that usually sits huddled around a table with five others just like it, and promptly threw myself off of it.
My main concern was that I wasn’t going to be in frame and that the images would be out of focus. As the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV doesn’t have a flip out screen, and there was no one around I could ask to check, all I could do was line myself up with the camera as best as I could. Man, oh man, I wish you could have seen my delight when I saw these images in their RAW, un-edited state; I wanted to cheer when I saw that I was actually in every shot!
I think something that really helped to achieve these shots was repeatedly repositioning and refocusing throughout the process. Making sure to stop every so often to review, rather than shoot continuously until I was ready to stop, made the shoot far more calculated. That being said, from having this experience I have learnt that the subject doesn’t need to be central in frame or sharp.
If an image is aesthetically pleasing, or conjures a mood or idea, then that’s all that matters. Framing and focus are merely tools for creativity.
As a side note, despite the main purpose of these shots being to sharpen my skills, I was drawn to how I didn’t focus on or scrutinise the way I looked when reviewing them. I wasn’t thinking about the areas of myself I am conscious of, or if an angle was unflattering, but the shapes I could contort myself into, as well as the freedom and passion I was able to project through my body. It was pretty neat to see myself as a piece of art.
On the whole, I adore these images. From how the natural gradient of the sky looks as a backdrop, to the final colour palette. They feel like such a bright and hopeful set of photos; making my imagination run wild with shoot ideas.
I definitely feel like there is so much more I can do in this style, and will be on the hunt for a subject to experiment with, but for my next set of self portraits I’m thinking light prism filters…