One of the last places I ever expected to occupy during a photo shoot or any other situation in my life is a pedestal. Maybe if I could recall an instance of choosing or agreeing or demanding to be there things might be different. But fact is, when it comes to perceptions and perspectives, whether coming from within or without, pedestals and I have a very limited acquaintance with each other, one first experienced about two hours ago, lasting one hour and unlikely ever to be resumed.
But the Self Portrait Project is about defying comfort zones, so this month not only did I choose as inspiration the most holy of holies to any photographer daring to give themselves that title, the inimitable Edward Weston, but from his brilliant and humbling body of work selected an image that would require me as model to sit in a highly uncomfortable position balanced on, yes, a pedestal.
Or actually an endtable. With sharp corners that left their mark on my knees as I left and reclaimed my perch a few dozen times until I somehow miraculously approximated the pose in the picture by the original model who I can only imagine was far younger and more agile and patient than I am, or quite possibly, a goddess to pedestal perching born.
This project has challenged me and continues to do so even in its 8th installment, as an artist and a woman, both of which aspects of my identity have never been keen on attention of any sort. It isn’t so much a matter of self esteem or confidence lacking as not wanting the recognition I know I deserve happening in the context of a huge spotlight with a great crowd encircling it. I have always been more of a one on one person in terms of connecting, and collegial in all my relationships.
I don’t reject or defy authority, my own included; I just don’t acknowledge it exists. Hierarchies mean nothing to me. In my world, all playing grounds and battlefields are level. I don’t look down on or up to anyone, and I hope for the same courtesy from them. So, rendering myself through this project as both worthy of admiration on the one hand, or vulnerable to objectification on the other, has its own peculiar pitfalls of irony and hypocrisy as I showcase and document both it and myself, as creator and subject, on my blog, on Facebook and beyond. That’s a bit hard to swallow from a woman claiming not to value or desire attention.
But sometimes art is art and above reproach. Or beneath it. Or maybe it’s on the level, from which position I now sit writing this post, back in the comfort zone again. Until next time…