Self Portrait

Before this blog, I have never tried to take a picture of myself.  It is a strange and interesting experience to put myself in front of a camera open and feeling ‘naked’.  Nobody is around, and I am talking to my camera and making faces. I know my camera will take in everything going through its lens and record everything as is. 
As I started the first shot early in the morning, I saw a night owl who had again stayed up too late browsing on the web and the camera called out on it.   I thought my cup of fresh coffee with aroma has initiated my days, but apparently it has not. At least my camera said so.
I got up and decided to make a pot of Chinese tea with the last bit of osthmanthus flower that I brought back from last Shanghai trip. I did not taste the floral fragrance in the tea, but I certainly smelled it and the fragrance woke me up.
I was shooting in my studio in a cloudy day with my basic equipment. There was not much light shining through my window so I used a flash.  I tested a few shots with minimum flash power but without diffuser and my face looked too bright, so I added diffuser to dim the light and I looked better and more awake, but I looked very stern. My third grade teacher often gave me hard time simply because I did not smile. I am happy and content in this stage of my life and I want to give my camera a big smile. 

I actually tried many times before I finally got myself a self-portrait with a satisfying smile.

I also moved my Flash from front to side and it landed on the back. The window light though not strong is sufficient to light my face.  When I tried to add more light (even diffused), it was too much.  If my flash light came through my sides, it created shadows. Shadow can sometimes enhance a shot, but on this occasion, I did not like the shadow. 
When I moved the light source to the back, it lit my background and highlighted my front face silhouette.  The shot is simple and straight forward. But with experiment in mind, I still tried to play with the orientation of the light source.
I have lived here long enough and I am used to send friendly body languages to the people around me. I smiled at my co-workers, clerks in the store, pedestrians walking by me and to me, very importantly, the people who looked distressed or dismayed.  However, I may still not smile enough.
From time to time, I would watch a cashier in the grocery store chatting and laughing with the other customer, but a sudden pause occurred when I went through the line. It may just be the stereotype that Caucasians have on the Asians. I do agree that most of the Asians are quieter. We smile, but mostly lightly smiled. I think it has something to do with the cultural difference as well as the personality.
A friend was teasing that Asians do not smile because they don’t have good-looking teeth like the people here.  People here are more conscious of their outlook and braces were mostly used since childhood.
I personally think that Asians are mostly more reserved in their facial and verbal expressions.  Caucasians are more open and more dramatic in delivering emotions.
It is mostly a cultural difference. 
People seem to agree that Asian women tend to look younger and have better skins.
My personal intake for this may shock you.  I think we are all created equally by God and we have the same life-span. The difference depends on how you live and how you manage your health. Caucasians smile a lot and smile big. When you smile dramatically, your skin is constantly stretched and eventually turns loose, faster.  If white skins are under the sun more often than yellow skins, it is not a surprise that the white skins are aging faster, isn’t it? (I am more interested in photography and I am not here to be a beauty specialist. I am simply addressing my personal opinion.)
I am adamant about smile. When we are so excited, we should let it burst. When I smile, I feel the whole world is also smiling back at me.  It is surely an instant remedy.
This picture was taken by my husband. I was astonished by our grandson’s dramatic act. I like it very much because the emotion came out naturally. I am amused myself by simply looked at it.  I hope you are, too.

3 thoughts on “Self Portrait

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