I just realized I haven’t done my usual once-a-year self-portraits session in 2022. Probably because I have been thinking too much about it, especially after setting up a dating-app profile which led me to think a lot about the difference between self-portrait and selfie.
Minds greater than mine have tried to provide definitions of the crack between the two concepts, so I won’t go into it now.
One aspect of the self portrait I’d like to share is its healing power. Like any semantic gesture, the portrait fixes the subject in an external form that provides access to it.
When the photographed and the photographer coincide the access might become a revolving door. Yet, if one is willing to look, the self-portrait can provide acceptance, insight or a seemingly random starting point for a new conversation with oneself.
Sometimes one needs exactly that. After the storm, after sudden unwelcome changes of one’s circumstances. During awesome times when one really likes themself and would love to keep that self from disappearing.
The first photo is from the beginning of 2018. The healing needed to start with a refusal and I couldn’t get myself to say no. So I wrote it on the wall with a pocket lamp and let the no come back to me on its own time (it took a couple of years).
The next images were shot in 2020. My body was changing very suddenly and not in a way I really liked. Due to some chemical unbalance my metabolism was fucked and every perception, every thought and my physical shape along with it.
I did not recognize myself at all. Not all bad comes to hurt, as the Italians say. Some stuff did actually get better, while others got way worse. I seeked isolation more than ever. The photo shoot was to play with some new lights, yes, but also to take a look at what I was becoming. I could then start adjusting my goals for the photo shoots to come. Metaforically.