Sunday, 24 February 2013


Christmas Roses in the garden.
It's been a funny old week - work has been crazy busy and home has been pretty much the same! DD and I went to see the English National Ballet 'doing' Sleeping Beauty which was fabulous. The costumes were amazing and the dancing was wonderful. DD did however offer her opinion that the Russian State Ballet (who we saw last month) had more athletic blokes. I'm assuming she meant in the height and complexity of the jumps and not in any crude sense. Myself? I was impressed with them all!!
Film has arrived for my Ilford Sporti camera. It takes 120 film - a format I am not familiar with. Loading it was pretty straightforward. The instruction book really is written step by tiny step. However, I was a little confused by the bit which says to wind on the film until No 1 appears in the window. A line appeared first, was that No 1? I carried on winding, and winding and whoa.... perhaps I'd better take a picture before I wind right to the end. I lined up a classy shot of the house and 'snap'. Now, the Ilford Sporti is my type of camera. You set the dial to sunny or cloudy and then turn the wheel for 2-4 ft, 10-25ft or 25-infinity ft... simples! I wasn't sure if I was 25ft from the house or further so I took a few steps back to be sure. I wound on a bit and took another from a slightly different angle, continuing to wind I found some little flower shapes appear in the window, they got bigger until, Lo! A No 1!! I retook the house shot and confidently carried on winding until flowers and a No 2 appeared (not that kind of No 2). Now I am safe in the knowledge of what the numbers look like I can finish the film and check if the camera is actually working ok! Pictures to follow here in due course.
I have been reading and being inspired by a number of writers at the moment who use photography  to document their lives and explore what things mean to them. I am aware this sounds quite weird and airy fairy but it has struck a chord with me. The work of Susannah Conway in particular has been popping up in all sorts of strange coincidental ways. I was interested in her ideas about portraits, especially self portraits. I am generally the one behind the camera in my family and so pics of me are relatively rare. However, I do like having my photo taken but am usually disappointed with the results. They never seem to portray me how I think they should!! Now, I said this was a coincidental week, shifting through some old photographs this weekend I came across a self portrait of my Uncle. He never had a camera far from his hand and is responsible for the stacks of pictures I treasure from my childhood.

Ken's self portrait along with some shots of Bath Abbey taken by him.
This portrait struck me as just what a self portrait should be. It seems to capture him perfectly. I also found a shot he took of me which has always been a favourite - even if I do look like a moody little mare!
Anyway, I thought I'd have a crack at a self portrait, DH did look at me oddly as I stood in various bits of the garden taking snaps. 'You do realise you have the camera around the wrong way' he helpfully called! Luckily I didn't have to point out the same mistake with the chainsaw!
Best of the day - well, the shot with least chins!
So, what do people think? Self portraits - valid art form with something to say or just an excuse to appear in lots of photographs? I shall continue trying them out, who knows I might even end up with a shot I like!

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