Tuesday, 10 January 2017

A new kind of 'meme'

I won’t bore you with all my reasons for not being a huge fan of social media. Suffice to say my work as a photographer is all about raising self-awareness through the use of portrait photos. The majority of my clients are young people, and I am battling constantly, trying to convince them that however important it may seem to them that they look good, are ‘liked’ and fit the criteria for being the coolest or most popular person, that there really should be another way of looking at photos of ourselves that help us see beyond the superficial, to who we really are. It is our inner resources that ultimately get us through life — whatever we look like.

So 2017 is going to be the year I promote the idea of a ‘me.ME!’

I am not suggesting you (and this is not just the young, of course)stop posting pictures. What I am suggesting is that every now and then, you turn a photo into black & white, because details of clothing, skin or background will be less distracting….then LOOK, really LOOK at ‘who you see’, not merely what you look like. 
It works best if someone takes a photo of you, or a series of pictures. Choose a friend and take photos of each other. Sit facing across a table, in good natural light (NO FLASH!) and simply chat. Focus on the face, raising your camera/phone or tablet from time to time — don’t keep it held up at all times — that’s a bit intimidating. Ask questions, just simple ones like “when was the last time you were happy?” or “tell me something really fantastic about you”…or simply ask them to introduce themselves and state one talent they have. There will always be a moment when they are not actually talking, or being self-conscious — so try and take the photo at this moment. Choose 2 or 3 of these photos, turn them into black & white and look really carefully. This is who you are. No posing. Your honest self. You might not look perfect, or even attractive, but just keep looking…”Is this me?” “Am I good enough?” Maybe you can simply say “Here I am. This is me. I’m OK”

Bottom line is you don’t have to post them, but just for that moment you will have seen yourself as you really are, and this can be a significant moment. 

Believe me.

and thanks to Lucy for letting me share some of her 'photoVoyage' photos. She said of the experience of really looking at herself in a new way - "It was really interesting and empowering- and has helped inform some decisions about who I am and where I go next…and I am no longer afraid of my profile!"

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