I rediscovered something amazing.
The feel of wet grass on bare feet. Cold sand on skin. Carefully tiptoeing around broken glass. Raindrops soaking my clothes.
For the last month I’ve been taking self portraits again.
I’ve mostly been working on a faceless series (probably because it was too much effort to put on makeup or care about my face) and I’ve been trying to explore different poses and camera angles. I’ve been trying to trust my intuition on what feels right and I’ve been trying to be as brave as possible.
I thought getting out of the house and going outside with my camera would be good for me and my mental health. I didn’t realize that I would also discover an amazing escape from everything.
When I’m shooting lately I feel totally focused on the moment. It’s become an almost addictive escape. Yesterday for example I got some very bad news and felt completely overwhelmed. So I gathered myself and I went out to an empty fog covered beach. The entire way there I was obsessing over the news and how hard everything as felt. But as soon as I set up my camera and sat myself in the sand everything else washed away.
I feel like I always go into a shoot with the idea that I won’t get too messy but once I start shooting I think “well if I get on the ground it might look cool” or “maybe I should take my pants off and splash in this puddle” and honestly that’s become my favorite part.
I feel like a kid again running barefoot and getting dirty. I feel so happy when I’m in the moment. I feel so free when I’m doing a weird pose and not caring if it looks weird or freaky or sad.
The first series I shot I forgot to bring my remote and having to chase the 10 second timer added something back into the experience. Since then I’ve purposely been leaving my remote at home. I’m manually focusing everything. I’m running back and forth in 10 seconds. And I’m really analyzing every shot in between. I feel like shooting this way has really helped me create images I love and the challenge has been so enjoyable. It’s not just methodical shooting. It’s not technical. And it’s not perfect. It’s just an adventure.
When I’m not shooting self portraits I’ve been going for walks and just shooting the scenery and that feels like good exercise and good photography but it’s never the same escape.
I can’t truly express what it feels like so instead I’m going to encourage everyone to do it. Go get messy. Get muddy. Run barefoot. Play in the rain. Take photos that look sad as hell and feel just how soothing it is for the soul.