I enjoy taking pictures. And now that I have this fancy new camera, it’s so much more fun and rewarding. But the subject that I’m most drawn to in photography as an art form is actually the portrait. I would rather take photos of people than of things. As beautiful as a sunrise is, I’d rather catch an expression, a look, a reflection of light on a face. I don’t know why.
I am lucky to have someone around so that I don’t have to go through the trouble all the time to set up the self portraits that I enjoy playing with on occasion. I am lucky that most of the time, he doesn’t mind me lurking with a lens over his shoulder, waiting for the right moment to catch.
We discussed this habit of mine, to point the camera in his direction, in the direction of people I want to remember, to show in natural moments. He knows that I took more pictures of him than I took pictures of other things while we were in Florida, though the ocean and the funny birds might turn out to give him a run for his money on that count. However, he knows it’s only because I love him, because I find him beautiful in my own way, even if he sees these photos and finds his physical flaws are too revealed in them. But that’s what we all do when faced with our own image as seen by someone other.
It’s difficult for me sometimes to hand over the camera, to let him play when he wants to explore and learn about its use. And that’s because I know that the focus will soon be on me. And out of my control. I will see my awkward smile, maybe half-closed eyes, a framing I would not have used. But I suppose, when I really think about it, that I must breathe deeply and accept this, because I don’t want to be without evidence of my own existence when I look back on these things, and I know that I do not view portraits of myself as others view them. And if I am going to keep taking pictures of people close to me and expect those people to let me keep and use them, I should probably accept the fact that I won’t always appear in perfect form when they turn that lens on me.
I know that my mother-in-law does not like having her picture taken. And I can understand why, but I still might try to snap a few here and there because I love her and I think that she is beautiful in her way. Even my own mother, though she knows full well that she is a smokin’ hottie, sometimes complains about the shots she sees from me. It’s the way we are. The way we scrutinize ourselves and put pressure on our bodies or faces to appear as something more like the fake beauty we are tuned into on television or in magazines. I guess the reason I like portraiture is because it is freeing in a way, both for me behind the camera, and for my subject in front of it.
Either way, though, James is also glad that soon my lens will be more focused on someone other than him in this household. But I made sure to make no promises that I would ever stop taking his picture completely.