Two More ‘Distant Figure’ & ‘Close-Up’ Self-Portraits

black and white photography, landscape, self-portrait

I thought I’d share a couple more of the pairings I posted last week.

To quickly recap: for the left-hand image above I set up my camera, triggered its ten-second self-timer, ran like crazy for nine seconds, stopped and posed as the shutter was released. The left-hand image shows the full, uncropped image; the right-hand image is what you get when you crop right down to my face (plus a little work on gamma and contrast).

Two images for the price of one!

I find the results quite unsettling, which is good, since I don’t see the point in taking a self-portrait in order to flatter oneself. The unsettling effect may be partly because nobody looks at their best photographed blurred and in extreme telephoto perspective, and partly down to genetics, bad living and the fact that past the age of fifty, one has the face one deserves…

No negative has, so far, given both a good full-frame image and a good  close-up. This is not due to any necessary incompatibility between the two interpretations – but simply reflects how rare successful images are in the normal running of things.

If, say, roughly one in a hundred photographs is successful or worth sharing – then the chances of a negative working both as a full-frame and as close-up is about ten thousand to one! Even if I lower my standards and aspire to one good photograph per roll of film – that still leaves me with less than one in a thousand chance.

However, I have not yet viewed all the ‘close-ups’ of the good ‘full-frames’, so I live in hope of eventually finding a negative that works really well as both.


In Search Of The Distant Figure

analysis, landscape, other people, self-portrait

Difficult and unspectacular, the ‘Distant Figure’ is a motif that, by its very nature, demands neglect.

We expect our depictions of people to be information-rich. Distant figures withhold more than they offer. They oblige us to ask the questions that are left over when we can’t satisfy our curiosity about the depicted person’s individuality.

Distant figures occur in art, and are especially common in photography: the wider and further away the camera probes the more space it records which some stray figure might 

Recent Prints: Self-Portrait, Batley, Sète, Valras-plage

landscape, recent work, road photographs, self-portrait
Sète, Hérault, France, April 2014

Sète, Hérault, France, April 2014

Here are four more recent prints, all from quite old negatives, one from almost seventeen years ago!

I think I should apologise for (or at least explain) the self-portrait. It’s not the kind of photograph that wins many points in camera-club competitions. It is a precursor to the Distant-Figure self-portraits. At the time I was experimenting with an infrared remote-release. It turned out that it had a much shorter carrying distance than my feet, and it seduced me into a controlled, tripod-based, approach which made the results too predictable.

I like this photograph, or rather it interests me, because

Two Sinister Distant-Figure Self-Portraits

recent work, self-portrait
nr le Lac de Vezolles, Hérault, France July 2017

nr le Lac de Vezolles, Hérault, France July 2017

I’ve printed these images for the sense of menace they convey.

The camera I used to take these(a Ricoh R100) gave me ten seconds to get as far from the camera as possible. You can see from how far away I am in these photographs how much easier it is to run over an even, concrete surface, than over a forest floor, with its holes, stumps and fallen branches. My posture betrays nothing of the mad panicked dash that occurred during the previous 9½ seconds.