In-Between Days by Wendy Alas
This post comes to you from one of our own users, Wendy Alas. Wendy is a documentary photographer based in Chicago, IL and a Visual Journalism/Photojournalism graduate from the prestigious Brooks Institute of Photography. She first discovered her passion self-portraiture in high school and has agreed to share her experience and love for the art form.
Someone once told me that self-portraits are mostly for other people to see you for you, and others often say self-portraiture is a form of self-expression; to me it’s both and much more. I’ve been taking self-portraits for about ten years now. I began in my very first black and white photography class in High School when I was sixteen. I was part of a club called Gallery 37 in Chicago and was able to take an SLR camera home loaded with Tri-X Pan 35mm film. I didn’t have a tripod at the time so I improvised by using a table and holding the camera still by placing books around it. This is a method that I don’t recommend anyone to do! At that time, after only living in the U.S. for two years, I really had no idea where I belonged. I was often seen as a bookworm for spending my lunch breaks in the library or in the dark room developing black and white photographs. After taking my very first self-portrait I realized that I wasn’t the plain girl I often felt perceived as, but that I can actually be a good subject to make pleasant photographs. I did it for my own entertainment, and at the time I didn’t understand the effect it had on me. It actually gave me a boost of confidence, knowing that I could take my own pictures and that in fact, I looked good. I decided to pursue photojournalism in college, since self-portraiture has only been a hobby to me. Today I make a living as a documentary photographer, and even through my personal art of self-portraiture, I make it a goal to still take story-telling images.
In the summer of 2007 I had marked nearly three years in a relationship that began during my last year of college in California, after receiving my degree I moved back to Chicago and due to the distance, and our fickle plans of being together again, I felt to be growing apart by mundane distractions. I was very confused and sad but at the same time I felt empowered to stand-alone. This is perhaps one of my favorite self-portraits because not only was a beautiful day to shoot outside, but also I am determined and ready to move on. When I see this photograph now, I remind myself of the way I felt then and it really does help! I shot this image outside in my backyard under the shade, I used a Westcott bouncing reflector to fill light on my left, 50mm lens, a tripod, and Sekonic light meter to obtain right exposure.
Keywords: studio photography, self-fulfillment, manual flash, flash, professional photography, off-camera flash, exposure, unique, examples, creativity, model, self-portraits, photographer
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