Tuesday, March 10, 2009

365 (about): Fifty-Five Photos, Eating a Peach

It was Jenny 12 Frogs's intriguing 365 self-portraits that most recently alerted me to this photography project. There's a section of Flickr where people post their daily self-portraits. I'll just plug along over here on Blogger, though. Having only recently rescued myself from Facebook, I don't need another entanglement.

Photographic self-portraiture first caught my interest when I got a job at the art college library in 1989. Circulating art library books was an education in itself.
Over the next twelve years, students so frequently checked outThe Ballad of Sexual Dependency (1986), the photographic diary of Nan Goldin, for instance, I flipped through it probably every couple weeks as I checked it back in.

(Cover photo: "Nan and Brian in Bed," 1981.)

But it was this "Self-Portrait on the Train, Boston - New Haven" (1997), from Goldin's I'll Be Your Mirror that I was thinking of yesterday when I headed out to catch the suburban express bus to Burnsville, where Lee lives.
Lee had joked about daring to eat a peach on this bus, so I decided to photograph myself on the road, like Goldin, eating some kind of fruit, not really expecting to find peaches in March.
On my way to the bus stop, I popped into the Mexican market, and peaches from Chile had arrived. So... this photo assignment looks simple enough, and no one even has to disrobe.

I admit I'd always thought Goldin's claim to fame was mostly her subject matter: her Lo-lo-lo-lo Lola life [Ray Davies's little smile at 0:28 is a treat] in NYC with her beautifully damaged friends and lovers. How hard could it be to photograph such ravishing and ravished changelings, if they'd let you?
Which just goes to show how much I knew about photography.

Fifty-five photos of me eating a peach later, I have new respect for Ms. Goldin. I am not satisfied with a single one of them. This (posted above) is the best of the lot. Or, anyway, it looks the most related to Nan Goldin's.

But maybe I prefer the peach on my lap? It is more me.

I am also figuring out why I am not really a photographer: what I most want to do with this project is write about it.

3 comments:

PaulD said...

5, already! And, yes, what captured me even more than the photos, was the story about them. Yes, you do have that ability to spring a story from a picture. But then, there are some who spring stories from cooking. Here, with you, the story is the object that treats. In time the photos -a photo- may command.

Darwi said...

Ah, do not be so hard on yourself. My brother is professional photographer and i know he takes even hundred of images before he settles on one to show it to the world. So 50 is quite ok number. (Also, I have to admit that, sometimes, I cannot even notice the difference in those countless photos...)

fresca said...

That's it, Darwi: I should have taken 45 more photos!
Thanks for your encouragement. I'm new at this and will either get better or give it up.

Paul: Maybe I wasn't clear? The idea is to post a photo every single day for a year. That's why I'm already up to 5.
I like the idea of "springing" a story from a picture!