Self-Portrait (14) – Close Ups

0123Close ups.
How often do we look at ourselves in close ups?
I mean even for photography,
you wouldn’t want to be too up close to look seemingly too big, or revealing your pimples or freckles.
Or seeing how big your nostrils are, or how dark your dark circles are around the eyes.

And then when we do,
we have all these beautifying apps to blemish our appearance.
To look perfect.

Since when has the society led us to believe that
flawless skin is beauty? Or freckle-less is ideal? Or having a sharp pointy chin is the way to look good?
Why these beautifying apps have specific functions for these in particular for us to make changes to our appearance?
Why not changing the shape of the ears?
Or why not changing the colour of the eyes?

If we have beautifying apps in the Victorian century,
will they have the same functions as we have them now?

And then I tried the app on my own,
and I have to say I am pretty impressed by the technology nowadays.
I didn’t even do anything to the extreme.
Look how I turned out?

And then I wondered,
how many of the photographs that’s posted on IG or facebook are “real”?
Do you ever wonder about that?


Self-Portrait (13) – Where am I?

0121Do you ever fear of not being able to speak to your heart?
Do you ever worry that the constant noises around you drowns out your inner voice that you’d never be able to talk to it again?
Do you fear that you are not living up to your potential?
I do. Constantly. Everyday.
How can you tell apart the voices from your head and the voices from your heart?
Does your head get so strong minded that it overrules the heart?
Mine does. A lot of the time.
When you tell yourself these people you meet are here to teach you a lesson.
When you tell yourself these people no matter what are a blessing for you.
When you tell yourself to be grateful for the tinniest thing even though they are not really what you wanted.

I’m a people person. By gene.
I just know, that I’m more in tune with other people’s feelings and wants,
way way way better and clearer than mine.
Hence, there’s always a blog.
And there’s always a “finding myself”.
Because if I don’t spend some time a day to sit quietly and just talk to myself and centred myself,
I don’t know where I’d get swayed to.
Like those pinball in the pinball machines.
This, for me is like food we take everyday.
A necessity. Part of my life.

So where am I right now?
At this self-portrait experience.
I guess, this is my way of executing my ideal self.
The self that I am 100% truly in tune with my inner side.
That is not saying,
I’m not “me” when I’m in the outer world,
it’s more like I’m stretched out when I’m in the outer world.
And here, is when I return to my original form.

Self Portrait (12) – Emotions (2)

0117Trying to get myself feel more deeply during a photography session
is not something that can just come straight to you.
Especially when your mode of shooting wasn’t quite like that before.
I have been shooting but seems not quite right,
I mean it takes time to practice and so far, nothing as good as what I shot on day 6.
Or maybe I’m just being harsh on myself.
But then again, it’s all about progress.

A hunch in my stomach tells me that I have to starting mixing up and be more playful.
These are plateauing and even when I look at these they are getting boring.
But then again, I know this is my issue hahaha.
I need to stick to the question of – finding myself.
And how to present that visually.

Well, then again, progress is about trials and errors.
No one knows how to walk the path that you need to carve yourself.
So let’s keep digging.

Self Portrait (11) – Tiredness

0116This is what I do when I’m tired.
I cover my face and rub my eyes and I just don’t want to let anyone see my face.
In my mind everything is floating,
like bottles floating and sailing on the sea.
Sometimes I wonder whether pushing so hard is a good idea,
but then sometimes I’d tell myself that it’s just all on your mind.
Sometimes I tell myself let’s stick to it,
but sometimes I tell myself just take a rest.

We don’t want people to see our tiredness naturally, because that’s the worst side of us.
In appearance, in mood, in functioning.
I mean, do you ever want your photograph taken when you look like a zombie? Not really.
We want to look our best in front of cameras, but why?
So people will think we are attractive? That we are friendly? That we are approachable?
Why do we project ourselves on a photograph, not really revealing who we are?
It’s contradicting isn’t it?
The project is trying to figure out the opposite.

The “subjectivity” of yourself in photographs makes it that you can become another “self”.
This possibility of you being able to become something else, is what photography can do to us.
It takes you to a different plane where “you” can create a new you.
When someone asks to take a photograph of you,
in that space of this creative process in making that photograph,
you in those split seconds can decide, what you want to show, which part of yourself to reveal.
Or even, create a completely different you.

This is what makes photography so interesting,
especially as a medium to studying myself.

Self-Portrait (10) – Ears

0115Wow. It’s been an amazing journey doing this.
There are hard times where I just really really want to forget about it but at the end stick to it.
But then again, sometimes I think, I deserve a break.

Ears, I know they are delicate little things.
And then when I was doing some research, you won’t believe that, our ears hear differently too!

Your right ear is better than your left ear at receiving sounds from speech, whereas your left ear is more sensitive to sounds of music and song, according to American researchers behind a study of the hearing in 3,000 newborns.

“We always assumed that our left and right ears worked exactly the same way. As a result, we tended to think it didn’t matter which ear was impaired in a person. Now we see that it may have profound implications for the individual’s speech and language development,” said the leader of the study, Yvonne Sininger of University of California at Los Angeles.

So this left and right differentiation really does apply to every parts of our body.

Now the question is, are headphones made to attune to this natural difference of ours?
In general, it doesn’t make much of a difference.
When we listen with MONO signal, like podcasts and a lot of speech stations, sounds frown each side of the headphones are the same.
However when we listen with STEREO signal, mostly in music, sounds coming from each side of our headphones differ.
This is to give you some kind of imagery and sound stage you will find in music that drums maybe slightly off centre, vocals maybe more to one side, strings may be at the back, guitar forward and more central.

Looking at my images.
Somehow from these images I picked, I feel as though my right ear is ready to listen to some speech,
whereas my left ear is moving along with something more sentimental.

Self-Portrait (9) – Jawlines

0112This habit of photographing myself and writing everyday is starting to sip into my nerve cells.
I feel more intensely that I enjoy this a lot and feel a little empty if I haven’t done one today.
I didn’t shoot these today but I’ve always love to look at people’s jawlines.
The defined, structured shape that intersect between our face and our neck.
I mean, it’s also something you have to “define” when you are drawing a face.
But I’m not quite sure why this is so intriguing.

And then to the love of google,
I found out that, there are exercises that can help you improve your jawlines!!!!!
You can redefine your jawline by using this small equipment, putting in your mouth and biting it so to exercise your 57+ muscles on your face. Wa – fascinating! But why do people want strong jawlines so much?

For men, a strong jawline is often associated with power, dominance, and confidence. Research shows that men with higher levels of the hormone testosterone tend to have stronger immune systems and more masculine facial features, such as a stunning jawline. And this is one of the facial features which is likely to let them be offered higher salaries!!!

And in women, according to scientists, a prominent chin can be a telltale sign that a woman will be unfaithful.

How truthful they are I am not sure.
We do sometimes judge a book by its cover. Same case here.
But never ever let that be the only thing you come to define a person.

Self-Portrait (8) – Joy

0111If I’ve shot myself in anger, then why not joy?
We all heard the saying, “fake it until you make it.”
Actually this is scientifically true according to psychologists.
We know how our body languages can make other people think and feel about us,
but we can change how we actually think and feel too by changing it.

We smile when we feel happy,
but when we are forced to smile by holding a pen in our teeth, it also makes us feel happy.
So this is the experiment today.
Let’s try to fake smiles til I make it.
And towards after 10 shots, I was feeling it.
I was thinking happy thoughts and self-timer keeps clicking.

The one on the right I remember clearly, I was thinking good memories from two years ago.
The left one was that I was remembering a conversation I had with some close friends few days ago.
Pictures do show, what really makes you happy and your eyes sparkles, and what doesn’t.
And I know, who were those people of which I was thinking of.
And they are truly, the gold stars in my life.

And I love this picture as a stand alone.
But I can’t remember what I was thinking about. Damn.

Note to myself: finally I found a tripod for my “light” as well. Actually the shots have been taken with iPhone screen as the light source. It’s actually quite useful without needing to get some crazy big equipment. Before I was holding it and shooting, which limited my creative process. Now both my hands can be free during shooting 🙂

Self-Portrait (7) – A letter to myself

Today it’s a very different thing.
Literally, a letter to myself.
I need some therapy.

Dear me:

How are you? How are you holding up? Is everything fine around you?

I see that something has been bugging you, that you want to let it go but somehow it’s still holding tight to your heart. Your heart hurts doesn’t it? It’s okay if it hurts, because sometimes life is like that and sometimes people are like that. You are doing the best you can and you are trying your best to make what you want works. Actually life is difficult isn’t it? Who doesn’t want to just lay back and drink a cocktail? But I know you are learning, you are learning to laugh your way through with what’s happening, and take it lightly like a piece of cake. Because, our most precious gift is time. Why spend all this time focusing on the energy that doesn’t give you joy? When it happens to someone else, you will laugh about that too. But it is okay. To feel this way. It is important to feel it rather than trying to push it away. Meditation teaches us, to focus all our energy to the flow of that pain, physically hold on to your heart and be gentle with all of it.

The way to solve a problem is through it. The way to relief pain is feeling it. Right? Do you feel it intensify and then sinking away? Focus goes to where your energy flows.

I wonder, how do they do it? The ability to laugh when you are drowning.

Actually shouting while shooting was kind of a great relief, right? To make that energy becomes something tangible. Literally releasing your emotions and photographing it.

I have a feeling that, you are feeling better now. You are able to switch your mode of thinking. I’m proud of you.

Always here to listen,
Love, Me

Self-Portrait (Day 6) – Emotions

0108A lot of the times, I write about the images that I took yesterday or days before.
I liked to let the images “sit” in my LR for some time and sift through later to see what’s really there for me to talk about.

Today’s isn’t about that.
Today’s images were shot from earlier today.
I’ve never really consciously make myself feel when taking any photographs.
It’s always been an either / or thing. It means that usually when I’m at my creative zone, my gut will be in charge, it will guide me to choose frames that I “automatically” think it’s great and then my hand will press the shutter. Or when I’m emotionally charged, I will just go out and shoot randomly to release that energy.
I’ve never really, how to say, combine the both.
The sweet spot of both conscious and unconscious working together.
Maybe I did, but chances were too rare.
Now thinking back, most of the time during my creative process, my unconscious is either
“Oh I know this image will look great (aesthetically), or I am hammering this negative energy to whatever I visually see.”

Today was a different experience.
It wasn’t a play with how to photography myself. And then study it.
It was about consciously making myself feel, through the touch and movement of my body, and capturing that feeling via the projection of how I positioned my body.
Sounds complicated. Even to myself.

Okay. Let me try to articulate it better.

This is really about – channeling my emotions to the photographic framework I set out to make.

It’s choosing to feel through the photographic process, rather than choosing a photograph that makes me feel later on.

One is setting out a framework and surrendering to the feelings of it; the other is surrendering to the feelings and picking a common theme as framework.

The thinking process is completely different. And it is is the very opposite way of approaching a body of work than how I used to.
I’m actually, proud of myself. In this new discovery.
Shooting with films is my passion, but the beauty of digital cameras is that the iteration of this flow process can be achieved much quicker and easier than film photography. To bridge that connection.

I intuitively know.
Something has clicked in my mind.
And I have to practise this new method, this new way of thinking, so to get better.