Weird Wednesday – Strange Beauty

Today, I’m on a slightly different track for Weird Wednesday. I’ve been thinking about photography quite a bit, more about photography of human subjects.

Somehow, I wound up gazing at a website filled with beautiful photography of Annie Liebovitz this week. More specifically, one in which she has cast celebrities in fairy tales.

Let me start by saying that I absolutely LOVE fairy tales, if you haven’t figured that out already. When I started the workshop that led me to write my novel, my intention was to write a reworking of Little Red Riding Hood, but with a twist. Eventually I may still do that. I love the type of fear that goes along with the stories – a fear that makes you feel safer somehow. Like when you and your brother and sister set up haunted houses in your room around Halloween – the spookier the better. Or telling ghost stories by a campfire.

One of my favorite sites was of Russian Katerina Plotnikova and her series of Fairy Tale photos involving real animals.

I may have an opportunity to photograph a wedding in October, and I am really excited. But of course, I want to create something that not only captures the memories of a beautiful day for the bride, groom, and family, I want to create art. I want to create something that everyone involved can look at and see and think, “how beautiful!”

I’m not sure if I’ve stated this before, I believe I have, but taking selfies has actually improved my self confidence. For years, I felt self-conscious, unattractive, and just generally unlovely. And then, something funny happened. I was in my younger sister’s wedding.

Now, there were quite a few things that went along with that. Getting measured for the dress prompted me to start Weight Watchers, I had lost a good bit of weight, and it was the only time I’ve ever had someone else do my hair for a special occasion. Yes, you’ve read that right. I did my own hair for my own wedding(s) too.

But having a very talented photographer taking the pictures? Looking at the pictures captivated me. Many of Sarah’s photographs were magazine worthy.

There were some photos that it wouldn’t have occurred to me to take, too, though I guess they are common enough these days: photos of the rings with the flowers. Photos of Sarah’s shoes. All sorts of photos of OBJECTS from the wedding. And they were gorgeous.

But of course the best photos were the bride and groom, the photos that captured the love of the bride and groom, the beauty of the day, the moment in time.

Sarah and her friend Anya both loved the show “America’s Next Top Model,” and they were joking around quite a bit about angles, etc. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen an unflattering photo of either, but part of that is that they both know how to pose. They are both aware of which angles look best. It helps that they are both gorgeous women, but sometimes it is more than just having a beautiful subject, you have to figure out which angle is going to capture your subject in the best possible way.

The wedding had me experimenting more with photography. Photography of people requires a willing subject. I’ve taken tons of photos of my children over the years, but sometimes they don’t want to be photographed. So yes, I started taking self portraits.

Girl in pink dress picking clover blossoms
My daughter at age two.
Toddler sitting on a couch with book and toys
Around 18 months
Boy and girl on a park bench with trees and mountains in background
My oldest son and my daughter when they were little

Is it narcissistic? Maybe. Do I care? No, not really. Because it is practice. I still think there are far more beautiful people out there to photograph, but I know I’m not hideous, and in practicing with self portraits (including hands, etc.) I am learning how to photograph PEOPLE. I am learning to figure out which angles are more flattering, how to find the right angle on someone who is aging or has a less-than-Hollywood figure.

Today, I watched a couple of videos on posing. I find these videos fascinating, and I can’t wait to practice on people. (My daughter is going to love that, I’m sure. I can’t get the boys to let me photograph them anymore without them sticking their hands in front of their faces.)

I am a little over halfway through with this video:

I watched this one earlier:

And before that:

I found myself experimenting with selfies again:

Playing with light and angles.
Playing with light and angles. Yes, I have a gray streak again.
Profile picture, hair down
Profile picture, hair down
All that talk about hand placement made me try the hand on the face thing. Meh.
All that talk about hand placement made me try the hand on the face thing. Meh.
This one reminds me of those religious paintings.
This one reminds me of those religious paintings.
I look better as the
I look better as the “Evil Twin.”

I have several friends who are photographers. Most of them do not do it as their primary job, though some do. One of my “amateur photographer” friends (and I say amateur in that she does it for love rather than money, because she is extremely talented) has posted gorgeous photos of her own daughter over the years, photos of her dog, photos of many people, but one of my favorite photos was one she took of her mother and her mother’s cousin. The women were both older, one was in a hospital bed, but they were both laughing, and it captured the joy of living.

I love taking candid photos. I love capturing moments when people are doing their own thing. I love photo journalism, and that power to capture something in that moment. But sometimes those moments don’t happen on their own. Sometimes the photos need to be helped along.

I will leave this with the photo that started a fight a few years ago when I made it my profile picture. That IS a weird story. And sort of a weird photo, too. I was playing around with the camera on my cell phone because I was bored, and I took the photo from an angle where I look like I am upside down. I converted it to black and white, and I loved the result. I used it as my Facebook Profile.

This is it.
This is it.

The problem? My ex thought it was “too intimate,” and I won’t continue with HIS thoughts on the photo, because NOBODY else had that reaction. Let’s just say it led to me posting another Facebook Profile pic – one of me with a banana in my mouth. You can use your imagination.

I am going to challenge each and every one of my readers to take a selfie and post it in the comments if you can. NO GENITAL PICTURES. I know I shouldn’t have to say that, but experience with total strangers on Facebook has taught me NOT to take that for granted. Here is an example:

Abdul: Hello.
Me: no response.
Abdul: Hello. How are you today.
Me: Still no response
Abdul: [photograph of penis]

If I receive any more of those, before I block that person, I will send the results of a Google Image search for the term “Blue Waffle.”

I want to add one more page of bizarre but beautiful photography. These are photos from Alexander Khoklov, and they involve strange makeup.

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One thought on “Weird Wednesday – Strange Beauty

  1. I would like to learn photography a little bit. I’d like to get nice pictures of cars. We have an old digital point and shoot which takes decentish pictures, an older Canon, but I’d probably get something better if I got serious about it.

    BTW, your grey is nice, I too have embraced mine, my temples are mostly grey and my facial hair is more white than anything. I don’t know how to post it here, but I’m sure you’re facebook skillz are leet…..

    Like

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