Project ME - My Year in Self-Portraits - Part 2, February 2018

"Vulnerability is the birthplace of connection and the path to the feeling of worthiness.  If it doesn't feel vulnerable the sharing is probably not constructive." - Brene' Brown

Welcome to the second installment of my 2018 year in self-portraits.  I'm excited to have completed two full months of making at least one self-portrait a week.  In addition to writing this blog, I am also sharing my photos in a self-portrait Facebook group just for women.  The theme assigned to us for the month of February was, "Intentional Gaze".  And yes, when I first saw that theme I did want to run and hide.  However, I surprised myself by discovering that looking at the camera was not as difficult as I thought it would be.  At the end of this post I will share what I learned from working through this theme.

 2.6.18 It's always a little easier to look directly at the camera if you have a few props.  Reading is one of my passions, and with so many great books and so few hours in the day, I always have a huge stack of books that I'm either reading or hope to be reading soon.  This is a portrait I have wanted make for a while, because I think you can tell a lot about a person by the books she has on her bookshelf.

2.6.18 It's always a little easier to look directly at the camera if you have a few props.  Reading is one of my passions, and with so many great books and so few hours in the day, I always have a huge stack of books that I'm either reading or hope to be reading soon.  This is a portrait I have wanted make for a while, because I think you can tell a lot about a person by the books she has on her bookshelf.

 2.13.18  It's much harder to look at the camera without props!  I am always challenged by what to do with my hands, as well as what expression to make for the camera.  In this portrait my face and hands represent both my struggle with how to "pose" for the camera, and my anxiety as I waited to hear if any of my images were advancing to the next round of the Shoot & Share photography contest.

2.13.18  It's much harder to look at the camera without props!  I am always challenged by what to do with my hands, as well as what expression to make for the camera.  In this portrait my face and hands represent both my struggle with how to "pose" for the camera, and my anxiety as I waited to hear if any of my images were advancing to the next round of the Shoot & Share photography contest.

 2.20.18 Being creative with self portraits for 52 weeks means I may try some strange, new things!  In week three I learned how to make multiple exposure photographs!  I know, it's bizarre looking, and maybe even a bit creepy, but I'm still me, regardless of how unusual I look in this photo where 5 of me are overlaid in the image.

2.20.18 Being creative with self portraits for 52 weeks means I may try some strange, new things!  In week three I learned how to make multiple exposure photographs!  I know, it's bizarre looking, and maybe even a bit creepy, but I'm still me, regardless of how unusual I look in this photo where 5 of me are overlaid in the image.

 2.20.18 Another multiple exposure photograph with movement added for an interesting end result.

2.20.18 Another multiple exposure photograph with movement added for an interesting end result.

 2.20.18 Multiple exposure self-portraits are so fun to make and the options for unique images are endless.  Apparently the number of me in the photo could also be endless!

2.20.18 Multiple exposure self-portraits are so fun to make and the options for unique images are endless.  Apparently the number of me in the photo could also be endless!

 2.20.18  When I made my first double exposure photo at the beginning of February I was nearly in tears.  My first try was with inanimate objects.  Although I followed a series of tutorials I just couldn't make it work, but I kept at it until I finally overlaid trees onto a photo of my house.  If you are interested in seeing that photo please find me on Instagram @mjbissell.  When it came time for my self-portrait day I was feeling more confident about my ability to create multiple exposure photos.  I knew I wanted to try another double exposure using the beautiful flowers my husband gave me for Valentine's Day.  To create this photo I handheld my camera to get the portrait and then I overlaid the flowers.  This is my "spring is on my mind" photo.  

2.20.18  When I made my first double exposure photo at the beginning of February I was nearly in tears.  My first try was with inanimate objects.  Although I followed a series of tutorials I just couldn't make it work, but I kept at it until I finally overlaid trees onto a photo of my house.  If you are interested in seeing that photo please find me on Instagram @mjbissell.  When it came time for my self-portrait day I was feeling more confident about my ability to create multiple exposure photos.  I knew I wanted to try another double exposure using the beautiful flowers my husband gave me for Valentine's Day.  To create this photo I handheld my camera to get the portrait and then I overlaid the flowers.  This is my "spring is on my mind" photo.  

 2.20.18 For this portrait I filled nearly all of the negative space with the flowers.  It was not a completely successful photo but it was a fun technique to try.

2.20.18 For this portrait I filled nearly all of the negative space with the flowers.  It was not a completely successful photo but it was a fun technique to try.

 2.27.18 For my final "intentional gaze" image of the month I decided to use the multiple exposure technique to carry out my vision.  I wanted this last image to tell my story of gradually, although reluctantly, becoming comfortable in front of the camera.

2.27.18 For my final "intentional gaze" image of the month I decided to use the multiple exposure technique to carry out my vision.  I wanted this last image to tell my story of gradually, although reluctantly, becoming comfortable in front of the camera.

February is now in the books, and I made it through a theme I assumed would be challenging.  Surprisingly, looking at the camera was not as difficult as predicted, but rather viewing my images on the computer after a completed session was the hard part.  It isn't always comfortable looking at my 50 year old self, since it's all too easy to see only the imperfections.  Along the way I also learned that I am happiest looking at myself when I have a smile on my face.

I'm proud to announce that two of my images from this month were selected for the Dear Photographer self-portrait monthly blog.  You can view all of the featured images here .

Thank you for joining me on my journey.  I'll be back in a month to share my March 2018 images with you. In the meantime, I hope you will try to put yourself in front of the camera too!