Flipping the camera 180 degrees

There is something inherently odd and off-putting about self portraits, not to mention close-ups of a person or even of oneself. They may be perceived as self-centered, pseudo-erotic or even perverted. This is something I wanted to question with this post and to try to see what else might be achieved by turning the camera 180 degrees and back towards the photographer.

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Considering how thin in terms of photographic content (in other words: photos!) my last blog post was, it feels good to be a bit more generous of the kind today.

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Shooting pictures of myself with varying numbers of extension rings attached to my trusty 50 mm would turn out to be an… interesting venture in many ways. From a technical standpoint, it was a seriously odd experience. I would use:

– From one up to three extension rings.
– A flash that would bounce off a wall leaving me have to keep my eyes closed at most instances in order not to blind myself.
– Burst mode while trying different focusing distances with the focus set to manual and viewing the liveview as it was reflected in my bathroom mirror.
– One seriously bored me after some time without a functioning computer (see last post).

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The photos seem to keep up a very interesting variation in the spectrum between the technically interesting, the bizarre, the beautiful, the abstract and the very clear and almost scientific.

It’s funny how coming up closer to things than what one is used to will turn it into something completely new and mysterious. After all, we have all already seen an eye, a tongue, teeth and the other parts that make up the human face. But just as lenses have a minimum close focusing distance, so do our eyes. Try focusing on your hand while slowly moving it towards yourself and you will notice this. The same concept applies to lenses and this is the reason why you use extension rings or even dedicated macro lenses.

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After a while I would progressively try to play around with more and more out of focus images. Eventually I reached the level of simply having everything thrown completely out of focus purposefully. The effect was an interesting abstraction of the basic human forms, as they are in the facial structure.

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From the front as well as from the side. We all recognize the features that combine to be that which we call a human face, in focus or not.

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Shooting from under seemed to yield the most eerie look I was able to capture. The angle in combination with the colour temperature makes it almost look as if a scene from a morgue with a dead person, deep into its final sleep.

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Let’s get the motive back into focus for the last two, shall we.

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This was a terrific learning experience for me and it really pushed me out of my comfort zone. Seeing as how rewarding it was, I will definitely have to return to it sometime in the future, although next time I should perhaps take just one more step further away from the camera… 😉

/Martin

4 thoughts on “Flipping the camera 180 degrees

    • Haha. This post would appear to be even more controversial than anticipated, judging by the comments Ive received (elsewhere than here mostly). Funny, considering it’s all just close ups of a (my) the human face. I cherish the creativity it came from and still gives me, though 🙂

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