I think this part of the course was pivotal for me but even a couple of months on I still feel too close to it to pick out some of the highlights and the whys. A lot of the learning is still on my mental back burner.
I thoroughly engaged with the research and reading around various self portraiture practitioners. There’s something about the independence of self-portraiture, about how you can just get on with it. I’m stunned by the diversity of interpretation possible, and by how some self portraits can tell you as much about yourself as about the person pictured. The way that some people can make such prolific self portraiture work makes me think of the breadth of self possible in all of us and the breadth of creativity in making all that work.
I’m still happy with the work that I made for that assignment, that I kept going for 26 days making an image each day. I didn’t just learn about self-portraiture, I learned about me, my menstrual cycle, and a few weeks on I’m in the early stages of identifying the best ways of making sure that I don’t have another month like that. It might take the form of a local procedure or it might be a keyhole hysterectomy, but I’m hopeful that things will be better quite soon. Documenting a cycle both laid it out for me in all its hormonal and messy highs and lows and also somehow recognised it, recorded it, and made it ok for me to seek a way to move on from it to something better.
The apple work for the diary was ground-breaking for me too. I have this nagging feeling that I have a drawing voice, but when I try to draw it is stymied by the certainty that I can’t draw. Whatever “can’t” means. I know now that I can pick up a pencil and draw an apple. That has to be a start.
This part of the course stayed with me though Part 4, which felt somewhat more academic and less emotional compared to Part 3.