This was my third self-portrait gallery shoot. For the first, my objective was just to see if I could actually manage an entire gallery shoot on my own. The second was my first time working with gels. This time, I wanted to try to keep it simple with just me, some cute wardrobe, and a plain black backdrop.
This shoot challenged me in a way I’m still not able to fully explain. But a big part of it was, I’m a story teller, and “once upon a time I was sitting in my underwear in front of a black piece of paper, the end” isn’t a story I’m familiar with. Even when I do fairly traditional boudoir/glamour/pinup shoots, there’s always more going on even if it’s only in my head. There’s a specific emotion or concept I’m trying to convey.
This shoot was 3 hours and almost 600 images of a very special kind of hell for me. I genuinely didn’t know what I was doing, what I was trying to say or how I should be saying it. About 200 shots in, I finally gave up on the idea of a completely empty set and let myself have some pillows. Which may sound like a small thing but it made a huge difference in my head. Suddenly I was sitting in my underwear in front of a black piece of paper with pillows. It’s stupid how much it helped to add even that one extra detail to the story.
So I learned something, which is the secondary goal of these self-portrait sessions. I learned that I really really really want a story to tell in front of the camera.