My "Selfies" - A Photographer In Front Of and Behind The Lens

February 08, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

In the past the only way I was able to get into a picture was to place my camera on a tripod, table, or boxes, set the timer and run like hell.  Everyone waited for the flashing light to count down for the eventual clicking sound of the shutter.  The number of shots taken was dependent upon how fast I could get into my position usually with the first few shots of my backside, or a profile, or just some dumb look because I was not completely ready.  I know this process was happening everywhere, family members or friends standing huddled together and then given the command to smile and wait for the click.  Bodies and faces frozen for at least ten seconds waiting for the click and flash.  It can be hysterical watching everyone trying to freeze a happy expression, only to complain about why the picture only got the back of my head when I pushed the button and couldn't get my chubby legs moving fast enough.

Cell phones have helped people come out from behind the lens with the ability to set the camera to shoot from either a front or rear lens.  The phenomenon of the cell phone "selfie" is so significant to me because those behind the camera, immortalizing the moment in time, are now shown as being part of the activity.  Spontaneity is captured which shows raw emotion and participation.  All of which the photographer was left out in the past unless relinquishing control of the camera or begging someone else to capture the moment, usually not at the same level excitement.

My daughter introduced me to the selfie a few years ago by shooting us with her phone.  I am a good candidate because I have long arms and know that the farther away the camera, the more people can get in the picture.  I've never been a person that wanted to have a picture taken, I've always been more comfortable behind the lens with quick "hit-and-run" conversations with a click of a button.  This concept of a "selfie" has become a new challenge for me.  I decided to capture selfies in situations that are spontaneous, fun for me, and challenging to photograph.  Some of these situations include the use of mirrors, reflections in windows, or my shadow on different types of backgrounds.  My shadow is becoming more interesting lately because the size and shape of the shadow is dependent upon the placement of the sun (high noon vs sunrise/sunset) and an available object that will be of interest that I can cast the shadow.  With all of my selfies I find that symmetry can also be a challenge.  My personal preference is to have symmetry in my images with both arms even or the image centered with straight lines.  Window reflections are also interesting and challenging.  This is because I cannot use a flash and am dependent upon any existing light that can highlight me in the image.

The artistic possibilities of selfies is endless.  Now when walking I'm like Peter Pan, watching and trying to catch my shadow through the camera.  I am watching for my reflection with lighting opportunities.  Selfies are going to be a new adventure where this photographer is going to make the effort to be in front of and behind the lens.

Have you had a similar experience, I'd like to hear about it.

Enjoy and remember,

"Moments in time are lived once. Images of those moments live forever."

Ed H.


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