Friday, May 31, 2013

Fractured self-portrait

click photo to enlarge
Though I've run this blog for eight years and posted with a frequency that I never imagined I could sustain I don't think I've ever been a particularly good blogger. By that I mean I've never offered readers much in the way of information about the minutiae of my existence. A few impersonal  or semi-personal facts here and there are about as far as it goes. I've always been free and easy with my opinions but the daily details of my life, my family and my activities have been largely absent, and where mentioned at all, have invariably been very generalised. The fact is, though I'm reasonably gregarious, I'm a fairly private person. Moreover, I'm only willing to include my nearest and dearest in this blog on the same terms that I present myself. So, my wife is never (well hardly ever) photographed close-up and my offspring and their families, where they do feature, are also distant figures., included for compositional reasons only. My family snaps remain private.

That reticence to place the details of my life on the public stage in part accounts for my dislike of social media. It also explains the lamentable way (in blogging terms) in which I flip-flop between blog comments and blog silence. I recognise that the online dialogues that ensue from blogs, news reports, other websites, even social media I suppose, can have value for those who take part in them. In fact, for a few years, I was a regular contributor of images and comments to a couple of photographic forums, an activity that I both enjoyed and learnt from. However, there's also a part of me that agrees with a recent opinion I saw suggesting that online commenters include just enough of "the mad and the sad" to make the whole exercise off-putting for the average person. Any photographer who has frequented the dpreview discussion forums will recognise there is something in that notion, as will anyone who has scanned readers' comments at the end of articles in online newspapers or even on the BBC website.

It will come as something of a surprise then, at least to more recent readers of this blog, that I post self-portraits with reasonable regularity. However, like today's example, these are often obscured in some way, perhaps by reflection, distortion or using some other such contrivance. The photograph above shows me with my compact camera reflected in an artwork that comprises blocks of mirrored glass. I liked the way that it placed parts of me - head, shoes, trousers, umbrella, in unconnected places. What I wasn't so keen on is the way it revealed me indulging in two photographic fauxs pas that I have been known to bang on about in a deprecating way - photographing single-handed and not using the wrist loop of the camera!

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Sony RX100
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 10.4mm (28mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/25
ISO: 3200
Exposure Compensation:  -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On