Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Beyond the 4" x 6"


190:365 Before the show




192:365 After the show


Those tulips I bought last week gave themselves up to the light this week.

still more light

light, light, light


193:365 Not fade away


We went to Winterfest on the weekend. This was the best photo from the day:

sleigh ride

...but this was the best moment:




195:365 I was due for a self-portrait.




Over the past few weeks I have taken several pictures of other people's kids--pictures that were happenstance but compelling, children who are a part of mine and my daughter's lives. I've posted only one of those photos here--that ethereal shot of the girls playing dress-up from last week's grouping--not because I think the parents will mind my doing so, but, rather, because I feel too shy and embarrassed to ask them for permission in the first place.

"Hi. Thanks for letting your daughter come to our house. M adores her. By the way, I'm doing this project online wherein I take pictures everyday and post them to the Internet. I think I got some great shots of the kids together. Would you mind?..."

Nope. I can't bring myself to say it out loud. It always sounds so geeky and amateur. And yet, and yet, I look back over the pictures I've posted in the last six months and it appears as if I live in a capital N, capital F Nuclear Family that is surrounded by nature and consumer objects. What a false reality I am creating. My little family is part of a vibrant community of people, but I'm too damn shy to promote the photography project with them in order to ask for permission.

"I have this blog, see..."

Watch the colour rise to my cheeks. I've always known that the photographer is the main subject in any photograph; I guess I just didn't realize that this awkwardness of mine is in part what the truism means.

So far, I'm ok with actually photographing kids that I know (even if I don't post the shots), but, when it comes to adult friends, I don't seem able to hit the shutter button in the first place. Our mutual self-consciousness is crippling.

It's not as if I took on this project as an exercise in documentary photography--hell, I could spend all year just trying to figure out what documentary photography is. It's just that now that I'm half-way through Project 365, I realize how much my own limitations as a person, not just as a photographer, are shaping the year I present here.

What about you? Is your year in photos a reflection of how you live your life? What narrative are you creating in spite of yourself?


BTW, I stuck to last week's prompt all week long. Every photo was taken entirely with manual settings--even the picture of the hands thus making it doubly manual. So, this week's prompt. What to do, what to do... how about black and white and red all over.


  1. I love this post! The pictures are beautiful. My photos are generally a good reflection of my life. But then I'm not a very good photographer.

    One question, and one comment: what was the play, and did the prosthetic leg have a starring role?, and I really like that pink shirt you're wearing.

  2. Nicole: the play was Sam Shepard's Buried Child and, yes, the leg was a prominent part of the action. As for the shirt, thanks. You too can own one if you can get to the Superstore. Joe Fresh. On sale right now.

  3. I wondered if it was Buried Child! This will seem strange, maybe, but we put on that play at my HS when I was in Grade Eleven. I was Shelly. I remember grabbing the leg and running across the stage with it. I also remember one of the characters had to stick his fingers in my mouth. Fortunately I didn't become germ phobic until later.
    PS I love Joe Fresh!

  4. Absolutely Sue. I have a hard time turning my lense toward a face in fear they won't like the result.
    There could be 365 pictures of my dog. There almost are. She's easy. If I were to document my day around the pictures of her, it would show they were all busy, I was tired, she's always there and always pretty. Plus, she doesn't care.
    I've picked up alot of things, and tried new things, just by observing others, however, truly moving outside my comfort zone I think will require real instruction.

  5. My requirement for posting pics of people other than my family is that the face should not be recognisable. (Is that a word?) I do not ask permission when this is the case. Example, the shot of pidgeons eating out of Little Stuff's friend's hand. In the photo is the hand and some hair, no recognition possible.
    I have friends whom I would ask if I could use their images, but most of them don't know I blog, even.
    The self portrait is a real winner - love that - I can see a lot of facets of Sue in that shot.
    I think my photos are in a rut. There are one *** of a lot of nature shots.
    And more this week since I was playing with sunlight and shutter priority.
    I love how your technical range is increasing and how your photos tell stories. misty is right, it's time to move out of my comfort zone.

  6. Another lovely set of photos! :)

    I often have felt awkward about bringing out my camera, too. By now at least all my friends are used to it. A couple of them hate it (I get to take x number of photos and then it has to go away - although that's mostly because they hate photos of themselves, and generally when they see that I don't use anything of them that's horrible they usually relax). Some love it (wanting copies) and most really don't seem to care either way. It's always awkward for me, though, when introducing in a new setting.

    I find it easiest simply to say that I'm trying to get in the habit of taking photos because otherwise one day blends into the next and I forget all the things we do, and I'd like to at least have a visual record to prompt me to remember. This usually starts a discussion (how busy things are with kids, etc), and then I mention that I sometimes put some of my photos up online, and would they be okay with that if I include ones with them in them. Usually people say yes.

    Basically, what I'm trying to say is that it usually turns out to not be even half the big deal that I worry it will be. I'd love to see some of your friends, too. :)

  7. I like your first shot of the tulips the best. Moody.

  8. Mary: yes, that's the shot of the tulips I liked best too but L convinced me to go with the other one. I think I'll change it back.

  9. I also love the photos and the text. I've branched a very little bit, but right now, I'm scrambling to catch up. I'm up to a week behind, right now, and sometime very soon I'll be back on track totally. I had a great shot in one of my classes yesterday, but didn't have my camera. There may be legal complications around snapping students. I'm also dying to take some shots in a little greasy spoon that Kristine and I frequent, but haven't managed that yet, either. I do feel right now like I'm in work/play with the kid mode: part of the problem with being a single parent and doting dad, I guess. My Artefacts series had to do with scrambling to catch up mode.... funny, I feel shy a fair bit too, and I'm not used to the feeling.

  10. I snorted at "after the show" - just great.

    And I love your serene and knowing self-portrait.

  11. buried child. thank you. I kept looking at that picture and thinking "prosthetic leg. prosthetic leg. I know that play. I know it. what is it??" buried child. Did M watch the show? It's a been a while since I've read it, but Sam Shepherd in general seems unfit for childhood consumption. I am having flashbacks to my first year of acting classes in college, and another classmate opening and closing the refrigerator, which, if I recall correctly, also figures prominently. Or maybe it just sticks out in my memory from her work in the scene.

    I worked a bunch on Fool for Love. I just watched the film version of that a few weeks ago.

    none which has anything to do with your actual photos. love the sledding one. have tried to get a similar one of MQ sledding, to no avail, so I'm a bit jealous. Come take pictures of my kid sledding, would you? also love the "before the show" - there is just something about the dady daughter thing. I never manage to capture it, but there are so many similar moments in my family. i think you have gotten several great ones.

    the project is for you... and if you're not comfortable putting up the pictures you take of other kids, the important thing is that you have them for you, and for M. Taking pictures of other adults is hard. I agree. It's easy to pull everyone together for the "let's get a group shot" photo, but to take pictures of people just living their lives... it feels intrusive. I feel like I'm trying to be, i guess as you put it, a "documentary photography," and it does feel awkward. But it's so nice to have pictures of people doing the things in their life. Like the photo I have of my mom making gravy at Thanksgiving. Not the greatest picture, but my mother, at the stove? That's an honest memory of how things were. Of her doing something she did well, and enjoyed doing. I wish I had more of those kind of candid (ish... in that shot you can see her starting to smile and pose for the camera) shots.

  12. I'm so impressed. I wasn't able to even attempt manual shooting this week, but I love all of your photos. I especially love the whimsy of After the Show.

    As to your question, I answered it at my site. I found it really resonated with me and I got a little personal, but I'm glad you asked it.

  13. Love the tulip pictures and your self portrait and Muriel on the sled.

    As I think I've said before--one of things I'm learning is that I'm not very good at taking people pictures. I think partly because I'm so uncomfortable about having my own picture taken (and so assume that others also are self-conscious about it) and partly because I'm still not very comfortable with my camera.

    I thought that this project would help me learn more about photography, but I really still haven't made the time to actually learn. Need to do that.

  14. I love the self-portrait and the flower shots. I just got my camera replacement and posted some photos at my blog...finally!