Sunday, January 9, 2011
Fear of what I see in the mirror
When I look in the mirror who it is that I really see? I have never been much of one to admire myself. As a child I was awkward, gangly, and very uncoordinated. I didn’t have many friends and totally lacked any semblance of self-esteem. My retreat was to create a world of my own, a world where I could create something remarkable beyond myself. It took years to get past those painful remembrances of self-loathing and isolation. Of achievement to trust in myself that I was really worthy of any kind of talent. Growing up in a rural sate like Montana, creativity was completely misunderstood because it wasn’t in the norm. It was a non-sustainable hobby that was more often discouraged as sentimental or emotional. Athletics were the suitable substitute to suppress sentiment and emotion; you could work out your aggression on an opponent. My family really didn’t get me. I was that creative black sheep. Though I was involved with plays they never once came to see what I was involved in. I just learned to adapt and was persistent to fulfill my driving force to create. I never was never quite sure what, but knew I needed to create something, anything as long as it revealed my hidden self and let me express myself.
When I become an adult and began to explore my sexuality, I suddenly found a place where I was accepted, where I did belong. It was exciting and intense and filled with wonder, beauty and mystery. The raw sensual self was allowed to emerge and celebrate the release of all kinds of emotions: love, beauty, seduction and passion. My body was not as disjointed and awkward as I had believed. Yet I could not see these remarkable qualities within myself. I guess have always been filled with self-doubt. Through photography and this exploration of my self and working at revealing others I am coming to terms with my own self-image. Why has it taken me all of my life to get to this place of feeling safe and comfortable with my own identity? There are still a few residual temporal insecurities that emerge when I still look in the mirror and see a man approaching middle age. Self-portraits have always been a difficult thing to create. I have such a different image of my self then what appears in the image. I look deeply into them and ask myself: is that really me? Self-portraits become an agonizing search for who we really are. So many people come in fearful or afraid of what they might discover if they have photographs done of themselves. Yet I am a master of discovering and seeing all those remarkable qualities in others, why do I have such difficulty seeing it within myself?
To strip away ourselves and really look at who we are is very unnerving. For some reason when we look in the mirror, all we seem to see is a reflection of our flaws, our imperfections, things we don’t like about ourselves, yet I know if we look deep enough there is a discernable beauty buried deep within all of us. Photography becomes a mirror, and in that mirror of art we can see the most remarkable things.
VIEW FULL IMAGE: SELF PORTRAIT 2008