Week 1: Self-Portrait | 2017 Project 52

It’s been so exciting to see more folks join our Flickr group over the last week and see their self-portraits. I know that a lot of people don’t like to get in front of the camera (which is why we’re probably drawn to being behind it), but there were so many great photos! Seeing so many faces, perspectives and techniques in the first seven days was spectacular – you guys mean business! If you haven’t visited the Flickr group yet to see all of the submissions, please do!

For me, self-portraits have been a way to get in front of the camera more and actually take control. I tend to… make some dramatic faces… yeah, and when I look back at the pictures others have shared of me, I don’t like them all. I look goofy. My little bitty tiny teeth look even more little bitty and tiny. My hair’s a hot mess. My face is contorted into one of confusion. Or I have one eyebrow flying high by itself. And I know that it’s all the rage to “love yourself as you are,” but I just hate the idea of those damn goofy photos being plastered around my funeral. So self-portrait equals control.

I’ve practiced self-portraits a lot more over the last year. Gotten better with the focal length and feeling comfortable with it. I’ve even taken to photographing myself when my mood is shit – because life is about more than those happy little pictures we put all over social media. But this is the image I chose for this week:

Settings: f/4.5, 1/320 sec, 35mm, ISO 4000
Camera and Lens: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon EF35mm f/1.4L USM

My 35mm is by far my favorite lens right now. I had thought about doing a close-up shot, but when I started setting everything up in my bedroom I was wanting a wider shot. So I started there. I really love the directional light I get in my bedroom, which is why I take most of my self-portraits in there, and my quilt is a neutral color (great for white balance) and adds a bit of texture to images as well.

But why did I choose this one? Not because of the perfectly clear view of my “Alfalfa” hair. Haha! But because my face found the light; in several other images I took, I turned away from it for some reason. The wide shot proved to be my favorite as well – I like the environmental setting it provides. And I also liked it best because of my curled toes. On both feet I have my toes curled up tight. It makes me think of my brother, who while he studied would always curl up his toes, deep in thought. I didn’t know I was doing it, so I must have been thinking about the camera a little too much, but I love the idea of being like my big brother.

Week 2: Transitions
due 01.11.17

Change is inevitable and with a new year upon us, let’s look for the things that transition around us. It could be something out in the world – go for a photo-walk and see if you can find transitions in the buildings, plants, places around you. Or it could be ourselves or our family. Are you moving, changing jobs, going back to school… if you’re one for New Year resolutions, what transitions are you hoping to make in 2017? Changes of happiness, gratitude, or health?

Think it over a little bit. Make a list of things that pop into your head. Can you photograph those? There is no wrong answer, so get creative!

If you post your images on Instagram or any other social media, use the hashtag #2017project52 so that we can find your work and give it some love!
Have questions about 2017 Project 52? You can find more about it here or in the Flickr group description. Please join us!