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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

ISPWP - Self Portrait contest

Normally I don't like to do the things where I post everywhere I know to get people to vote for me because

a.) I never know as many people as the other entrants, so it's pointless, and
b.) that's just really annoying

but, I thought I would post the self portrait I entered here and tell you a little bit about it... where it was taken, the circumstances, the technical details, etc. Partly because I think some of that info might be interesting to some of you, but mostly just because this is one of those few images that I really love, even though it doesn't fit with any of my gallery work and won't ever (likely) be in a solo show of mine. But, it does have a permanent home on my dining room wall - the image, which was hand printed and toned by me, is 11x11, the frame 16x20.

So, a few years ago, I was spending Thanksgiving with my husband's family at Deep Creek Lake in Maryland. We had the whole family, dogs and all, and rented this townhouse to stay in for a few days. The rest of the family was sleeping upstairs, but we had the basement with the sofa bed. The very first thing I noticed upon descending the stairs was this deer head on the wall, with the ceiling above it punched out where the antlers might have hit. Being a vegetarian and lover of animals, this was rather creepy to me, but my family hunts so I grew up around this sort of thing. At that instant, I knew I wanted to make a self portrait with the head.

As for the technical, this image was shot with a Hasselblad 501CM and Kodak TMax 400 120 film. The exposure itself was made with the camera on a tripod, triggered by a bulb shutter release with a 100 foot cord attached (that's in my hand that you can't see). The exposure was 10 seconds, if I recall correctly. I held very still for most of the shot, and in the last few seconds I started to shake my head to give a ghosting effect while still retaining some detail in the face. I have a whole roll of this exact setup where my head is in various states of blur, but this was my favorite. The image you see here is exactly as it was shot... no post processing in Photoshop.

So... that's that. And if you feel so inclined, you can see the image along with the competitors at ISPWP's site HERE. You don't have to vote, because like I said, I know I won't win. I just like to take photos, and think any contest can be embellished if a deer head is included.

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I am a sculptor, photographer, and mixed media artist based in the Washington, DC metro area. I sculpt with steel and glass, and enjoy people and holga / alternative processes photography best, although I experiment with many different subjects and media where I find them.

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