As you may recall from this previous post, entitled "little naked me," I am participating this month in Thea Coughlin's Across the Room Project, which is a photographic exploration in self-portraiture.
The project is about putting ourselves -- mothers, caretakers, women -- back in the picture.
"A few years ago, three things happened.
1. I noticed that out of hundreds + thousands of photographs, I had just a handful of myself.
2. I remembered how much I treasured the photographs of my mother.
3. I vowed to leave behind more than just a handful of photos for my son.
I decided to create a self-portraiture practice, but to do it … a little differently.
No close-up shots or glamorous portraits or perfect poses. I wanted to capture myself, in everyday motion.
I wanted to see myself the way my family sees me. The way the world sees me.
The across the room project was born."
I've been getting familiar with my trusty tripod, a hand-me-down gift I received from an amazing photographer, my friend Pablo Benavente, as he had upgraded his own tripod and no longer needed this one.
I've also been getting used to the timer settings on my camera, setting it to shoot 9 shots in a row after a 20 second pause.
The Across the Room Project also has a Flickr site with the wonderful explorations in self-portraiture of my co-mamas and colleagues. There's some amazing work happening.
I took these photos earlier this week, on a typical Wednesday morning, after Junebug left for preschool. The "getting ready" photos were taken before I took Buddy Boy and Miss Bee to the Children's museum for an hour of play. The "almost nap time" photos, below, were taken after we'd just gotten home.
These photographs capture, for me, the ordinary way that we are together.
Buddy and Bee "helping" me get ready in the morning. Looking at a bird outside their bedroom window. A spontaneous round of ring around the rosy. Buddy demanding certain pants to wear. Messes everywhere. Meltdowns at story time, before bottles are in hand.
Right now, when I see these photos, they feel brave and vulnerable to me. I worry that they're too unflattering. Or, at the other end of the self-conscious (a.k.a. shame) spectrum, that they're silly and self-indulgent. I worry that my house and its mis-matched Craigslist furniture seems unkempt, that my photography skills and equipment aren't good enough to pull this off effectively. (These photos also make me long to have an extra $400 in my pocket to purchase this lens, so that I could get the lighting right for my indoor shots, but alas, that just isn't happening right now...)
But I'm doing the project anyway.
I hope that someday, in the uncertain future all of us face in life, when I and my children look back on these photographs, we'll be so very glad that Mom put herself in the picture, too.