On Being The Subject

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Yesterday I got a taste of what my subjects go through when I point the camera at them. I had my photos clicked professionally by the very talented Pennie Withers of Photos By Pennie and it proved at once both an unsettling experience and an exciting one. Unsettling because I have rarely been the subject of a photo project. During my growing up years, we only ever saw a camera when there was a wedding in the family. Back in those days, the expense of having a photograph taken meant that a lot of people were crammed into the frame. More flesh per flash, if you will.

In the intervening years, when cameras became more and more ubiquitous, I rarely had the occasion or the inclination to pose for photos with just me in them. So when I requested Pennie to take a few photos of me in action, I felt as if I was indulging in a luxury. Unaccustomed to being alone in a photo, I was also slightly concerned. But Pennie put me as ease straight away asking me for the sort of look I wanted and for references to photos I liked.

 We had agreed that I would ask one of my friends to come along to the shoot and pretend to be the subject of my shoot while I was being shot (there were no firearms involved in this exchange, I hasten to add). This would mean that I would be more at ease. Pennie had already done a recce of the location and chosen a lovely shady spot for us to set up shoot. When my yoga-teacher friend Kaly joined us, our shoot got underway. I was directed expertly about where to look and how to pose that I gradually let my shoulders drop and for once, enjoyed the experience.
The results are quite special, don’t you think? But it’s bound to be special when the subject’s me. (What me, modest?)
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