Thursday, November 8, 2012

Me And My Shadow

I had a fun walk on my way home today.  My school day was short so I was able to head  home at lunchtime.  It was warm, but not too warm, and there was a gentle but definitely present breeze that caused the newly fallen leaves to skip along like happily dancing children.  The animated leaves made me want to join in the dance; I exercised a little self control and just walked.  A few minutes into my walk that childlike spirit got the best of me.  No, I didn't start dancing and skipping my way home.  I did, however, became quite fascinated with the shadows along the way - those of the trees, the blowing leaves and me.  I felt like a two-year old discovering the mystery of her own shadow for the very first time.

I walked along watching intently as my shadow disappeared and reappeared through the large shadows of the trees.  That I was so taken by this is a testament to the notion that it is often the simplest things in life that give to us the greatest pleasures.  I found myself wishing that I had my camera with me to capture the impressive  colorless forms of the trees projected onto the street.  I noticed, too, that often these shadows were dotted with fallen autumn- colored leaves.  The images were beautiful.

The longer I walked, the more intently I observed.  I then realized that though I did not have "my camera,"  I did have the camera on my phone.  I thought, "Now I can have some fun! "

I don't like to have pictures taken of myself, mostly because I always look terrible in them.  (The more I learn about photography, I realize why this is.  A lot of It has to do with metering for proper exposure; that is a discussion for another day.) So, because I am usually taking photos, I am not in many at all.  In fact, earlier this week someone asked for a picture of Weber and me together.  The only ones I could think that we have are from the wedding.  Those were not a particularly good option for the situation.  I did agree to take one of the two of us myself. I used my camera remote.  It is definitely not a great picture, but it was the best I could do at the time and it filled the bill.  

Now you see why I much prefer the backside of the camera!

Another reason I don't like to have my picture taken is because that means that the attention is on me in that moment.  I don't like to be in the spotlight.  I often say that I much prefer to live in the shadows.  I'm like the moon, only visible when illuminated by someone else's light.  These thoughts popped into my head as I continued to be fascinated by my own shadow.  Right before me was the perfect backdrop and lighting for the most representative self-portrait - my shadow!

I'm sure standing in the street taking pictures of my shadow didn't look strange, right?  Skipping along with the leaves would have been much more awkward looking, right?  No one pointed and laughed.  No one stopped and asked if I was OK.  And apparently no one called the police regarding a suspicious individual.  So, I felt free to take several pictures.

I look a little hunchbacked and disproportionate because I had my backpack on and, well, it is a shadow.  

I like this one because the leaf on my back looks like a hand, like I am being gently guided.  I find this comforting.

Here there is a leaf resting on my shoulder and another in almost the exact place as in the photo above.  What's the message there?

This one may be my all-time favorite picture of myself.

I am the shadow.  I am in the shadow.  I am present, yet not.  I am visible, yet not.  I am felt, yet not.  I am seen, yet not.
I love the skewed perspective.  It so clearly depicts how I look at the world - and probably how the world looks at me.

"There is strong shadow where there is much light."   - Goethe