YOU are amazing and beautiful. If you point a camera at yourself many times you can discover how true this is. All you need to do is look and then look again.
I lucked in to a project called The Truth & Beauty of Me. Cemre Yesil, my tutor, asked me if there was any pain in my life. With my wife and Princess suffering dreadfully from chronic multiple sclerosis I could say there was a lot. My project for my MA in Photography at Falmouth University explored this pain with my camera. I shot, looked, thought, discussed, felt and shot again to continue the cycle. I laid out the images for anyone interested to rearrange, remove or suggest other shots to make.
At first there was only deep misery and blackness in images of me alone. As I looked I became frustrated that I could not represent what I felt no matter how hard I tried. I searched my images for evidence of what I was feeling and could not see it. As I looked again and again I began to see I was more complete than the narrow focus of the pain I was seeking to show.
Whilst I was suffering the pain of my Princess’ illness I could see I was also defiant and strong. While sad I also laughed. When I cried I could remember and act to take a picture of myself in the act.
Cristina Nuñez talks in her ‘Portrait Experience’ of taking portraits of me, me and other and me and the world. Laura Hynd, another tutor, got me out of a rut by telling me to stop trying to represent and make meaning and instead ‘notice your emotions and what is happening with your senses and see what emerges.’
These ideas got me dancing in a skirt on my terrace to T Rex played loud with my Princess pressing the shutter each time she saw a shot.
I found myself resting my head in ivy at sunset. Others got involved as Ella, my 8 year old granddaughter asked if she could do the same shot of herself.
Clare Bottomley, yet another tutor, got me to play with sizing, sequencing, gathering, placing and cropping images. Make the viewers eyes dance around the page, make it big, small, left and right. Wow, what a lot of variables the tutors have given me to play with.
The me I am exploring has a degree in Mathematics from Liverpool University, a Masters in Psychology from Birkbeck College London, a training in Gestalt Systems with the Cleveland Institute in the USA. In my working career I ran trading teams and organisations. I lived and worked in the UK, Belgium, USA and Singapore. I then coached senior executives in large organisations for 10 years. I now live in Spain where I am studying for my Masters in Photography at Falmouth University.
The enquiry in to myself continues. The process has been therapeutic and revealing. It feels like it is just beginning but I can say that it makes me realise how amazing and beautiful I am.
This is also true of YOU. You are amazing and beautiful. If you want to explore the evidence for this then let’s get together. We will shoot, look, think, discuss, feel and shoot again. You will see the truth to be seen.