Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Beyond Layers Day 25-26 : Self Portraits


I know a lot of people seem to really be struggling with this lesson, but I had a fun time with it.   Many people are uncomfortable being in FRONT of the camera lens.  Too self-critical?  Low self esteem?   Yeah, I've been there, too.   Whatever it was,  I must have moved through it already ...

When I was pregnant 11 years ago, I was NOT one of those beautiful mothers who glowed.  The hormones of pregnancy wrecked great havoc with my skin.  My husband finally bought a roll of black-and-white film (remember film?) to capture those moments, and tone down the redness in my skin at the time.  That helped a lot. I felt jolly and content, but my skin was erupting and protesting.

My husband takes more of the people pics at our house.  I've been to enough funerals to know the ritual of combing through the family pics to choose images that will be in the photo montage at the funeral.  I won't always be here--I know that.  But to deny my loved ones taking a photo of me?  It's for them, not me. Will they wish we had more pics of me after I'm gone?   I wonder if Beyonders thought of it that way, they'd be more willing to allow themselves to be photographed?  Our loved ones see beauty in us that we're blind to ...  So Beyonders, when I added Kim's "You are already amazing" affirmation, I'm talking to all of YOU on this journey with me.  Do the assignment. You'll be glad you did, even if you are hiding behind something.  This is your chance to come out and shine!

I took a lot of pictures for this lesson--and deleted most of them.  Don't you love digital photography!  It was good practice figuring out the pose and spacing, lighting, etc. That in-and-of itself was a useful exercise.  In the end, I decided to go with this picture, cropped from a larger photo a few years ago.   I actually used this image in 2010 to do a 4-color fabric portrait in fabric.  So I guess you could say I was already familiar with it.   I remember it felt weird to be working on a picture of myself, but I'm over it now.  ;-)

The beauty of PhotoShop Elements is that if you don't like what you see, you can alter it.  I played around with some of the free Actions out there for PSE and came up with the different versions in the collage above.   Some of them hide my gray hair, some of them smooth out my skin nicely ...  All different, but pleasing effects.

Top Left : Pioneer Woman's Black Beauty Action
Top Right : Coffee Shop's Raspberry Tea Action
                   The image at the head of this post also adds Kim Klassen's "Amazing" brush/stamp
Bottom Left :  Coffee Shop's Irish Breakfast Tea
Bottom Right : Coffee Shop's Green Tea Action
No extra textures on these.  the b/w effect was enough, I think.

Here's the original photo the self portrait came from.
We were doing some flower pounding that day.



Beverly said...

Michelle, this is simply a perfectly thought out post! You have found things to say with words that hearts and minds are feeling and thinking. I love how you moved past the fear, and explained how so many photos were deleted (same with me). I love your 4 photo collage - each one is beautiful. :) VERY well said! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Very neat!
Joanne D.

Anonymous said...

Very neat!
JoAnne D.