The Pain Of Making Self Portraits

Firstly – I know have a working title for my assignment… “The Emotional States Of Anorexia”. The emotions that I’m photographing all relate to different emotions that I have experienced that relate to my anorexia.

Defiance (fuck you! I won’t eat and you can’t make me)

Pride (Yes – another target weight hit)

Rage (I fucking hate my self)

Joy (I can wear those new skinny jeans now I’ve hit that weight)

Fear (I’m so fucking scared of eating, l will have to kill myself if I do)

Grief (I hurt so much I can’t cope anymore)

Now I know that you know that I hate my photo being taken. I hate seeing photos of myself. It’s taken me sometime to build up the willingness to photograph myself. Tomorrow and Thursday I have the pain of seeing my face when I develop them. Fuck sake. Why am I doing this. I could have used someone else as the model.

Thing is I can’t. I know that these emotions are extreme and trying to work with a model and talking them into these states is gonna be challenging and time-consuming. I know these emotions and the thoughts that go with them. They’ve been a second skin that I’ve lived in. Consequently it’s taken me an hour to make these photos.

I’ve not liked doing it at all, but, I’ve got the photos that I need. I’ve captured the emotions. Am I putting them up on here? Not bloody likely. Once I’ve embroidered over them then I will publish them, but they, of themselves, are not the final piece of work. They are just part of a still life audio, visual installation that will be juxtaposed with the Laura Letinsky photography.

If I put my displeasure about the photos of myself to the side, I feel excited. This is coming together. My creative vision is clear, I can see the outcome.

Will I exhibit the six pieces I am creating? Damn right if I can get the right curator and the right space. It’s weird how I can feel so confident of that when I can’t stand seeing my photo. Perhaps it’s because my portrait is just a part of a larger piece of work, that my face will be sewn over? Perhaps it’s just a dichotomy of the human experience.

19 Replies to “The Pain Of Making Self Portraits”

  1. i think you are so very brave for taking this step and confronting your anorexia head on. Just hearing about taking shot of yourself made me anxious – avoiding ourselves is a feature of the disease, I think. So you are brave and fierce for taking this step and I hope you will show them to us at some point. blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thankyou Michelle. It’s been a process over many months of experimenting with self portraits. Twisted reflections with the camera hiding my face, my shadow, portraits that I’ve drawn over to hide myself, and now – actual proper photos. I’ve sent them to the printers now.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Such an honest and obviously painful account of your daily life struggles. It’s such a brave thing to document your journey, and I hope that this helps with your personal processing, and recognition in order for your recovery. Thank you for sharing… this may help someone else. All the best wishes photosociology

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love reading you, Richard. Every single one of those emotions and responses I can relate to but from the standpoint of obesity. I know our journeys are different, but you so often inspire me. I’ve been trying to write a bit about my journey and it’s terrifying! I’m so grateful for you for your openness. It’s a real gift to read you.
    Wow I can’t wait to see your finished work. *hugs* ♥. Niki

    Liked by 1 person

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