"Nothing in the world is permanent,
and we're foolish when we ask anything to last,
but surely we're still more foolish
not to take delight in it while we have it."
-- W. Somerset Maugham, The Razor's Edge
|Self portrait 10-23-13|
"I'm not scared for myself for dying.
Because I believe all these places are temporary.
This is just one shell."
-- Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
"Graffiti's always been a temporary art form.
You make your mark and then they scrub it off."
"... and here's a secret for you --
everything beautiful is sad ...
gilded with impermanence ..."
-- John Geddes, A Familiar Rain
Most of the time, when I do a self portrait that involves a lot of makeup or face paint, it takes longer to put the face on than it does to take the picture.
It's not unusual for me to spend an hour or more getting ready for a 10 or 15 minute photo shoot. As soon as I'm satisfied with what I have in the camera, I go slather my face with cold cream and scrub the whole thing off. (For the record, I go through a lot of cold cream.)
I get a particular thrill knowing that the ho-hum rest of the world is out there doing it's mundane thing while I am hidden away in my private happy place, elaborately (if temporarily) disguised as the Bride of Frankenstein, or Medusa, or a zombie, or a pirate, or, for today's face, a Day of the Dead skull.
Most of the time, nobody else ever sees me in the actual makeup. I put it on, I get the shot, I wash it off. Nobody's the wiser. Until the next day when I post the image or images here on the blog. But by the time you see it here, for me the moment is over and I'm onto the next face.
I love the mystery of having a kind of secret double life. Though I guess it's more than a double life, actually, because the math can multiply by however many faces I can come up with.
When I go out, I'm just me. But when I'm working on a portrait, I can be anybody I want to be, for a little while anyway.