February 5, 2007

Self-Portrait Challenge-Black and White

I can’t exactly remember why it was that I joined the Self-Portrait Challenge. I remember surfing random blogs trying to find something worth reading when I landed on Chronicles of Me by Boho. The post I was reaidng was a challenge she had recently completed, and because I was intrigued by the idea I followed the link to the SPC page, and I was hooked.

I saw SPC as a way to give me a structured prompt which would motivate me to post at least once a week. I could meld my love of photography, writing, and yes myself into something worthwhile. Since I started, each prompt has allowed me to take time and self-reflect on how to represent myself both visually and textually to a wider audience. I believe in the concept of photography as image creation, and so I shun the snapshot because to me that is merely image recording. For me each week is an exploration of the limits of art that revolve around images of myself. Photographing the same subject week in and week out can become tedious, especially when that subject is yourself, as a result this challenge has forced me to see myself in a new light each week. I find this therapeutic, self-affirming, and enjoyable.

Having said all that, after Christmas I needed a break. I was too busy readjusting to being back in Malaysia after a great trip home, and I didn’t have the time or the desire to think up resolutions. So here we are now in February and the prompt is wide open- Black and White. I have always loved B&W, but since this prompt does not give much direction I will need to really examine what it is I want to do with each shot.

Those of you have been following my portraits know that I often alter my appearance in one way or another. This behavior is not new. When I was in my twenties, I had a new hair color every week, and I had a hard time feeling comfortable in my own skin. On the other end of the spectrum, I know people who have had the same hairstyle since high school. This is insane to me. I figure if I am an ever-changing being than how can I look the same everyday. I am sure they look at me and say that they are comfortable with who they are, and that it is me and my own inability to know myself that leads me to change my facial hair every other day, or to shave my head or grow it out, but I still believe that change is good.

In the midst of this constant change, I felt it was important this week to simply try and capture who I am these days in an honest, simple portrait. I figured that black and white, at least for this week, would be a perfect tool to be simple and real: To be myself. There is a story of being comfortable with who I am these days- Of a great weekend spent with my daughter- Of a productive week at work- Of a man living the life he always imagined- of total contentment. But I think you can see all that in the eyes. Till next week, here I am in B&W:

For those of you who are at this site for the first time from SPC, please have a look around, and those of you have been here before, make sure to check out these shots I took of an amazing festival here in malaysia.


  1. welcome back!

  2. this is a fabulous shot and speaks volumes of YOU.

    you've been missed.

    i resonate with so much that you share. i too changed my "look" through the years as i was on the journey to discover who i was and try to settle into my skin. i seem more settled with each year that goes by. i heard this begins in your 30's. so far it's been true.

    you seem at peace...that is so good.

    in warmth,

  3. those structured prompts are great, but sometimes the month's challenge fails to appeal to me. but b&w? o it's lovely. and yours is great! fabulous. that boho, isn't she great?

  4. My first time here; enjoyed your photos (the people in Malaysia on the stairs: amazing) (the Christmas red baby: so so cute); also enjoyed the links and sentiment of your blog. Looking forward to seeing more.

  5. Welcome back, BZ -- as boho said, you've been missed. Great picture. Can't wait to see what else you have planned for February.

  6. Hope you have journeyed well...this image is just stripped down and wonderful.

  7. First-time visitor, your words rang so true and real, just like the photo (I think I can say that although it is the only one I've seen so far).

  8. I just adore this one. it's my favorite.

  9. Your eyes always kill me.

  10. You live (and share) in such an honest and visceral way. It is an inspiration.

    And great (honest) shot as well :)

  11. this is a brilliant shot...just brilliant!

  12. what a fabulous photograph!
    I stumbled over here from LeSophie's spot.
    goregous photography.

  13. wonderful, wonderful self portrait, with soulful eyes. your daughter, i hope, appreciates it when you look at her. greatly enjoyed visiting your blog and reading your thoughts....