Monday, August 31, 2009

Self-portraits, 1972, 73 and 2008, 09

The series of eight months of daily self portraits, 2008-2009 is finished. Today. August 31st.

I've missed a few days, most of them recently, when it got so hot, so humid, so near the end of this project.

When I originally started this series in 1972, I was very interested in whether I remembered myself. I found it so easy to get lost, to forget my existence and I was curious about whether that would show up in the photographs. It did.

I wasn't so interested in that aspect of the project this time around but in what difference it made to be using a small, digital camera that took images in color. I could carry it everywhere, set it on a table, on a dresser or hold it out.

It seems strange to be finished with this project, though I've gotten worn out with it, lost interest in a strange way. Or maybe I've become so preoccupied with being on the backside of the track in the morning, recording all I learn, what I hear, a more interesting, compelling project -- words.

It was odd that I didn't take any nudes. I did explore skin, the effects of age on skin, with close-ups. Something I couldn't have done in the 1970's when I was using a Rolei on a tripod. 

I might be interested in the comparison of the two sets of images. The few people I've shown them to don't particularly like them, perhaps because there's no continuity, no direct comparison, a disparity in technique.  What I like is that lack of continuity, the disturbing sense of incompatibility.

We'll see. For the moment, this project is over. Others are lined up, begging me to finish them. I've been stalling, not something I can afford to do at seventy.


  1. I like seeing how age does not destroy the indelible shape. Your images are definite yet they blur.

  2. i like that, too, mim. melissa's photographs always feel very definite to me--and yet not hard edged.
    i like looking at lots of the self-portraits at once (as on your website, melissa), because it is as though a single self emerges as the many selves fly by. like a zoetroupe....i just looked it up:
    Also known as the "Wheel of Life."
    of course.

  3. congrats on finishing the project.

    the work is strong and feels honest, trustworthy.