I decided to create the “motion” self portrait from my #52selfportraits list this past Sunday. Turns out, I made more than one that I liked, so why not spam you with several? *wink*
“I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people.”
Have you created a motion self portrait? Show me!
Back in 2013, I did a 52 Self Portrait Project – every week, I created a new self portrait. It doesn’t seem taxing when you think it’s just one thing to do a week… but some weeks, it was hard to accomplish! I’m really glad I did it, though; I think I grew tremendously in skill and understanding of creating images that year because of my dedication to that project.
Recently, there was some interest by others in a source for weekly self portrait themes to try, so I decided to help out and create a list of 52 Self Portrait Themes that can be used for 2016. Inadvertently, creating the list has inspired me to jump in harder than I have in the past couple of years, again. Now, I’m not saying I’m going to do all 52 of these… but I will definitely do many of them. If you’d like to join me in some or all of these weekly themes, I’d be delighted! I’m including the list in this post. I would also love it if, any time you create one of these, you share it with me somehow (links here or ping me on social media where your work is). I don’t have any rules, so do whatever you want. You can do them all out of order if you feel like it – whatever.
52 Self Portrait Themes for 2016
03: Science Fiction / Futuristic
11: Imitate a Classic Painting
13: Altered Perspective
17: In Bloom
21: Big World (make yourself tiny)
22: Long Exposure
24: Greek Mythology
25: Alter Ego
29: Close Up
30: Dude, It’s, Like, Totally 80s. Duh.
33: The World Around Me
34: Imitate an Icon
38: Vintage (age yourself)
46: From A Distance
There will also continue to be bi-weekly “Selfie Sunday Project” Events (some have themes and some don’t) and Monthly Challenge Events (with themes, and prizes!) hosted by The Art of Self Portraiture Community. If you’d like to be aware of these when they happen, circle me on G+ (I post them all there) and/or join the Art of Self Portraiture Community on Google+ or Group on Facebook.
See you in your self portraits, my friends! <3
This work by Lotus Carroll is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
To license commercially, please email.
Sometimes you can say just as much with the suggestion of a thing as you can with all of the detail. This is true of silhouette photography – a genre that can be alarmingly beautiful and expressive. If you’ve never shot silhouettes, you may be wondering how to achieve this look. It’s fairly simple to get the basics down, and from there, you can let your creativity run wild.
The most important thing to remember is that your subject (the thing you want forming the silhouette, in the case of self portraiture, you) should not be lit from the front (we want to obscure most of the detail) and there should be a significant light source in the background (this is what creates an outline, or silhouette). There are many ways to obtain this kind of setting, from studio lighting to sunlight – I find that sunsets provide an amazing backdrop for silhouettes. Play around with it to see what you can achieve. Once you’ve identified a subject and have a way to backlight them, expose the image for the light behind, rather than the subject (or anything in the foreground). This way, your subject will be very dark, creating an outline with little detail from the front. Voila! This is the basic formula for silhouette photography.
A few things to remember:
- create distinct, clean shapes with your silhouette subject(s)
- try to reduce excessive clutter or multiple other confusing shapes in the image unless they add to the “story” you want it to tell
- avoid foreground lighting
- identify or set up a significant source of back lighting
- no one formula for camera settings is perfect – the strength of your light will dictate what you’ll need, so experiment
- don’t forget to pay careful attention to scene setting and composition, as with all photos, once you get the technique down
- for self portrait silhouette photography, you will find the following tools incredibly helpful: remote/intervalometer, tripod
Here are some examples of silhouette self portraits I’ve created, with some basic information you can review.
Of course, rules are meant to be broken, and you can play around with the basic setup and then go beyond it, tweaking things in so many ways to create different kinds of photos.
Here, there is obviously a lot going on, so the silhouette is clean, but there is “clutter” – but it’s interesting clutter, and adds to the mood:
You can also adjust lighting on the subject to create “near-silhouette” images – some details of the subject are lit and visible, while others are dark, as with the following self portrait.
Let me know if you have any questions, and I’d love to see your silhouette shots!
For this and other self portrait tutorials, Join us at The Art of Self Portraiture Community on Google+ – a fantastic photography resource, source of inspiration and place to share artistic self portraits.
This work by Lotus Carroll is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To license commercially, please email.
I’ve always felt a little bit crazy.
When I was a kid, I thought I was “crazy” because I liked things that it seemed the majority of other kids around me didn’t like. I enjoyed reading, while they seemed to think it was a chore. I barely gave a thought to what my hair looked like. If it was clean? I was okay. I was more interested in climbing trees and building forts than making sure my hair smelled like Pantene. I didn’t always know what was “cool.” I didn’t always really care. I had a shirt that said, “Dare to be different.” I embraced that message. There was a tree branch on that shirt, and 4 owls perched from it. One was hanging upside down, and smiling. That was me.
In grade school, my friends told me I was “crazy” because I liked to act silly and question standards openly. If something funny occurred to me, I wanted to share it. I suppose it was already obvious back then that my “filter” had bigger holes than people thought it should. And my penchant for crass humor was already making itself known. Can’t imagine where I got that from. *shifts eyes to father* I cannot deny being called “the loud one.” Or even, “the annoying one.” Or maybe, “the OMG AVOID HER AT ALL COSTS one.”
In high school, I was always searching for something to make me feel right. All of a sudden, the “crazy” was more than just an oddity or a quirk. Something was missing. I asked myself often what it could possibly be. “Is it fun? Maybe I should not read so much anymore. Maybe I should do some smoking, some drinking, some partying. Maybe I should skip classes and flirt. Maybe it’s a boy that’s missing. I should get one of those, or two, or maybe three.” It all made me happy. Momentarily. But then none of it made me happy.
I pushed on into college and grad school. A young adult now, I was “crazy” silly to my friends, “crazy” ridiculous when I was drunk, and “crazy” bitchy and controlling to my boyfriend. Add in “crazy” anti-social during those times when I just wanted to be alone in my apartment. Which was often. I have always really enjoyed being alone. I think, maybe, because there is no pressure to hide exactly how one feels when alone.
No one is there to see how crazy you really are.
Over and over I’d have these periods when I felt that the “something” that would make me happy was always just a few steps ahead of me. And I kept chasing it, doing the things I thought I was supposed to do, following the plans that I was supposed to make and follow through with.
Every day, going through the motions. Hiding the anger I had at people as much as I could, pushing it down most of the time. Hiding the tears, hiding the sadness. Pushing on. Past the crazy.
My outward “crazy” was manageable. When the anger seeped, it was mostly rants that had a humorous edge. If they stung a little more sometimes than others, I could usually cover with follow-up humor. I never started fights, never hurt anyone physically. But the anger was always there. The sadness was always lingering just below the surface, too. Humor is often a cover for so many things, did you know?
“Just be funny. Just be ‘crazy.’ Then they won’t know you’re… well, crazy.”
Taking just a few more steps. To try to catch The Happy. And a few more, and a few more.
I put all my hopes into the things I thought would make me happy… my jobs, my studies, my boyfriend.
That was unfair of me.
No one can carry such a burdon for someone else.
That was unfair to me.
Because when you put all of your hopes for happiness into something else, or someone else, and then they fail you…
[And they WILL fail you because nothing can make you happy, and no-one is your perfect answer.]
… all you have left is the crazy. And you might try to get away from that, too, in the only way you know how.
Funny thing is, if you survive that, you might somehow still push it down and keep on taking a few more steps. Thinking that you can still chase down that happiness all by yourself.
I’ve denied to myself that I need help. I’ve told myself that I don’t really feel crazy. Not really.
I’ve kept telling myself that “The Happiness” is just. around. the. next. corner.
“I just need to take a few more steps!”
But for the first time in my life, now that I’ve been a mother for almost two years, I do feel like I’m actually crazy sometimes.
People: there’s this little person who’s running around in my house and he needs me all the time.
Even when I need to be alone with my crazy, he needs me. When I’m feeling distant, when I’m feeling weak… He’s there. And he needs me.
And he needs me to not be crazy. But he’s not giving me time to take a few. more. steps!
Somehow, that is making the crazy that wasn’t Really Crazy, you know, the one that I could just push down and ignore? It’s making that crazy grow. The angry crazy is leaking out when he needs me, and when he doesn’t, the quiet, sad crazy is taking over.
For myself, I’m afraid of the latter.
For him, I’m afraid of the former.
Why? Because every moment I need to myself, he is there. Every toy has to be slammed into my face. Abruptly, he will run up and scream right in my ear. For No Reason. He dances around because he has to pee, but when I put him on the toilet, he looks down at his penis, grins, and then shakes his head, “No-No-No-No.”
30 seconds later, he is peeing on my coffee table.
Some days, I am amused. This is what being a mother is about, right? This is what kids are supposed to do!
I know this. And some days, I cope with it all brilliantly. Some days.
But other days, I honest to goodness have to fight the urge to slam my fist through a window, fling dishes into the wall, or God Forbid, throw my son out the door or scream in his face.
And I’m not speaking in silly exaggerations. I am not trying to color my words so they will be interesting. I am not trying to spice up the page. I literally fight the Real Life Urge to ACTUALLY do those things.
So far, I’m winning, but it would only take one weak moment for me to lose something I may never get back. That frightens me in a way I don’t know how to express.
I cannot stress to you how much I would never, never, never want to hurt my son. I love him abundantly. I give all of myself to keep him safe and happy, every day. And still, I feel that I fail him repeatedly, because I have raged at him in my mind so many times. In my mind, I am a monster.
And sure, sometimes I raise my voice, even yell, and I’ve thrown a toy down or walked out of the room when I couldn’t take it anymore. Will those things hurt my son? It doesn’t seem like it, if you take any one of those instances by itself. But a lifetime of memories filled with those instances, for my son? I don’t want that.
I want him to remember me as the owl who hung upside down. Not the one who came screeching at his face with its claws out, or hid behind its tree and cried all the time.
It’s time for me to admit that I need more than prayers, extra sleep, or a place to write about my feelings. It’s time for me to admit that I need help, and seek it out.
I can’t keep chasing after a happiness that eludes me, always a few steps ahead of where I am. I cannot keep trying to hold inside an anger that makes my chest tight and often seeps and leaks out, hurting others. I cannot keep denying that I am exactly who I am, and that’s okay. It’s okay if I’m crazy. It’s okay if I need help.
I don’t know exactly what kind of help I need, but I’m hoping the doctor I make an appointment with will have some idea. I’m hoping I don’t just get dismissed again, like I have in the past. I’m hoping that with all my heart.
Do you think it just might work out?
I’m almost afraid to believe that.
It makes me feel a little bit crazy.