'"But I never looked like that!'
'How do you know? ...
You are the only one who can never see yourself except as an image;
you never see your eyes unless they are dulled
by the gaze that rests upon the mirror or the lens
(I am interested in seeing my eyes only when they look at you) ..."
-- Roland Barthes, Roland Barthes
|Self portrait 12-24-13|
"You cut up a thing that's alive and beautiful to find out how it's alive and why it's beautiful,
and before you know it, it's neither of those things ..."
-- Clive Barker
I look at myself.
Not so much in the mirror, but through the lens.
As a self-portrait photographer, it's kinda part of the job.
Maybe I look at myself too much. Maybe not enough.
I am not exactly sure what it is I'm searching for.
What it is I'm chasing.
What it is I'm trying to reveal to myself.
But still, I look. I search. I chase.
And so often, when I pull up the images on my computer, I think, "Is that really how I look?"
Sometimes it's pleasing. Sometimes it's startling. Sometimes it's disappointing.
Sometimes it makes me laugh. Sometimes it makes me think. Sometimes it makes me angry.
Sometimes it makes me wonder. Sometimes it makes me question. Sometimes it makes me sad.
Often, I alter the actual image, I vandalize it, until it feels right. Until it feels real. Until the picture hitting my eyes matches the one hidden in my head -- like two dissonant, agitating notes, one sharp, one flat, brought into tune little by little by little until there is peaceful harmony.
I suppose that when I find the whatever it is, I'll stop looking.
It's like that "hot and cold" game, where you're looking for a hidden something, and another person guides you towards it. When you're far away from it, they say "cold." "Colder." "Freezing."
But when you home in, they say "warm." "Warmer." "Hot." "Hotter!" "Boiling!"
And often, you don't know what you're searching for until you find it.
Until you see it. Until it's right in front of your face, looking back at you.
Maybe when my eyes finally land on whatever I'm searching for, the dissonance will quiet down and I'll find that elusive harmony.
I'll find that peace.
Maybe that's the "what."
If you celebrate Christmas, I hope you have a happy one.
If you don't, then I hope you have a really incredible Tuesday night.