Self-Discovery & Self Awareness

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My focus is on portrait shots this week.  My grandson is usually my target but he lives in Seattle now. When I get to see him every once a while, it was brief and he was so active, I could barely have my camera ready and he was onto something else.  So I can only either photo myself or my husband….

I felt so uncomfortable when I first took my own picture last week. Once the debut was on board, it gets easier.  I used flash last week and I thought to try natural light this time.  There is considerable amount of light coming to our master bathroom through a large window.  The window is way up high above the large mirror panel, so the light is toned down from the distance and becomes soft. Convenient enough, there is the large mirror that I can take my own pictures.

It was a cloudy day and the filtered light was not completely ideal, but OK for some experiments. I posted myself in front of the mirror in various angles and used remote control to fire the shots. When I downloaded the first group of shots, I was surprised at what’s on my computer screen. I saw myself calm, content, and look pretty good. I did not necessarily smile in all shots, but I am happy with what I see. Where is that girl who was blamed by the grade school teacher because she did not smile and why my family so often reminded me to smile in front of camera? Well, I went back for many more shots, I made all kind of goofy looks, happy, mad, sad, you name it.  And, I am amused by myself. I feel free and I feel good about myself.
What? I don’t believe it!

Had enough fun on my own expense, I made the proposal to take my husband’s portrait photos. He is so used to be in front of my camera because I carry the camera in the family, so an easy Yes.  I took some of his shots around the house (focused on facial expressions) and viewed them on computer screen.  I am looking at this guy every day, but I have never observed so thoroughly through the pictures. He is a super nice guy. When comes to pictures, he tends to look goofy. I have seen enough of them, so I wanted him to be a bit more serious and try different expressions and he did it well. We were both surprised to see his different look from the screen, more serious but not stern; shows more masculine characteristics but still  easy-going. I can tell that he seemed to suddenly be more aware of himself and his outlook.

My husband is very causal and laid-back.  He would go to any gatherings with the same couple of his favorite chamois shirts. If I want him to dress up a little, he would say, just pick one and I will wear it.  When I suggested that we go to the park for his portraits, he chose to wear dress shirt and sweater vest, the preppy look.  It was a sunny day but very cold.  Too bad that he had to add the jacket for the comfort. I selected a few locations with nice light condition and background, and I got quite a few shots that I really like and so does he.

Many people say they are not photogenic, so do I.  My younger daughter is very photogenic and I often wonder where she got that from… My photography work this week has taught me that we can all be photogenic if we want to. I learned that we will all look good if we just let our genuine inside and personality shown on our face. Either if it is a grin, a curled lip, a raised eyebrow, a fury stare or a piercing look. In my opinion, as long as the true emotion and feeling are honestly transmitted, it looks real and it looks natural from photography point of view.

A side note. I don’t like cheesy smiles and that short moment of artificial emotion. Cheesy smiles can be cute on little kids, but they can get into a habit to put out cheesy smiles if they grow up to cheese-smile in front of the family. And remember, such cheesy smiles will stretch the skin unnaturally and generate lines and wrinkles without us even know about it. 

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