Monday, November 8, 2010

Cameras [Question of the Day]

The question at the Ten Thousand Questions blog today asks about your attitude toward being photographed. Funny they should ask that today, because this weekend I was photographed in a rather unusual way.

To clarify: it wasn't an unusual way for a photographer to take a picture; it was an unusual way for me to have my picture taken. You see, my darling sister is taking a photography class, and I was visiting her this weekend.

"Can I take photos of you?" she asked me.
"Sure!" I said.
At which point she added, "--naked?"
"What?"

As it turned out, "naked" meant 'shirtless but covered with a shawl.' So it wasn't the scandal she initially phrased it as. My innocent little sister, talking about naked photos and asking her subject if she was ready to strip...

We were in the studio at 10pm on a Saturday, after watching an artsy and quite lovely show on campus ("Dead Man's Cellphone"). The little college was quiet, and the first door we tried for the arts building was locked. When we did get inside, S. flicked on lights as we walked between walls covered in photographs, paintings, prints. In the studio, she turned on the lamps like giant flowers, unrolled a black backdrop, attached the camera to the tripod. Shirt off, scarf on; door latched, overhead lights off. It was cold, the air on my bare back. The black scarf was softer than I expected, and it draped nicely. I couldn't see too clearly with my glasses off, and perhaps oddly, this half-blindness made me feel more naked than my half-dressedness.

So I clutched the scarf, and peered around, watching my sister fiddle with the camera, and not quite being able to see what she was doing. Click, click, click. "Turn... Can you... Oh, right there." Click. Click. The studio and the set-up were foreign, but my sister with a camera? Entirely familiar. So, shirtless and scarf-wrapped, a camera capturing my naked back, in the winter studio, I was still at home. S. was taking pictures, and I was just the subject. The photographs would not be about me, but about the pictures they portrayed.

3 comments:

dreamindance said...

Oh, that's so something she would do. I can just see your face! Haha...oh, the shock of your baby sister asking you to strip :) But all jokes aside, what lovely, spare descriptions.

Why do you think you felt more exposed without your glasses than you did without your shirt? And what pictures do you think she was trying to portray?

jfille said...

:) Thank you.

I suppose it had a lot to do with the fact that I had a scarf to cover my body... But I do often feel vaguely naked without my glasses, even when fully dressed (or perhaps especially when fully dressed. Hm. Related to the expectations of others, I'm sure.)
Maybe this is the question: Are you more vulnerable when you are being seen clearly, or when you are unable to see clearly?

dreamindance said...

Agreed - being vulnerable when you're seen clearly by others has everything to do with their expectations of you. When your mind is clear and you can make logical, reasoned decisions, those expectations rise compared to where they are when your mind is relatively cluttered...that is, when you're unable to see clearly. So for me, the two situations often happen in concert.

Then again, it is possible to separate them, i.e. be seen clearly by others when you are unable to see clearly. The first example which comes to mind is if I'm upset and my mother, an outsider to the situation, is trying to help. In that case, I feel vulnerable to her expectations of me, yes (to be a strong person, for example). But at the same time, I'm okay with feeling so exposed because it's my mum we're talking about here. I guess who the "others" are, matters.

This begs the consideration of whether you're vulnerable to others, yourself...and then, whether you can deal with that.

Haha...that became a bit convoluted; sorry...but it was a good question!

P.S. Apparently, Pastor Lorenzo was at the IV Christmas party yesterday, in case you weren't aware...thought you might enjoy that tidbit.