Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

Photographic Selfhood

Although my decision to begin writing "Friends-only" entries has paid significant psychological dividends, I also realize that confessing my current state of mind will only take me so far. It's good to let myself feel, but I also need to think.

Because my recent trials have overlapped with a crisis in my relation to photography -- I haven't been taking many pictures and have struggled to take good ones when I've made the effort -- I'm hoping to make sense of my troubles by reflecting on the relationship between identity and photography. More specifically, I want to understand how my approach to photography has been bound up with who I am. For every decision to take a picture is also a decision about how to communicate one's vision of the world, both to others and to oneself.

Since I first conceived of this endeavor, I've thought long and hard about which photographs I should write about. Even though the focus of this project will be on what I've done with a camera, I rapidly concluded that I would need to ponder the ways I've appeared in other peoples' photographs in order to understand the ways I've chosen to present myself.

In thinking about the decisions I make with a camera, I also realized that I was powerfully influenced by pictures from which people were largely absent. Although my mother took photographs of my sister and me when we were young, she concentrated most of her artistic energy on landscapes and structures from which she did her best to exclude evidence of human presence. I need to ponder how her preferences shaped my own.

And I also concluded that it would make more sense to jump around in time, focusing on moments when my relationship to photography underwent a transformation, rather than to proceed in chronological order. Perhaps I will rearrange everything in chronological order at some later date. For now, though, the important thing is to write about what comes to mind without giving myself room for the doubt that often silences me.
Tags: autobiography, photographic selfhood, theory
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