In July of 2020, after having photographed my husband and surroundings daily as a pandemic project, I began making self-portraits. I wanted to see how I appeared in my mildly depressed state. The pandemic and politics were taking their toll on my psyche. In addition to the anxiety around the state of our country and the world, I also had the time to focus on my aging body which was being visibly harmed by too much time spent on the couch in loungewear.
I love making these images, mainly because I work differently in this space than when making portraits of other people. It is a collaborative process when I work with my sitters to create a portrait. We banter as I move them around, speaking while photographing. For the self-portraits, it doesn’t work to simply choose an environment and set up the tripod. I need to think and plan the shoot for a while – sometimes a couple weeks or so, where an idea comes to mind, often from a dream, and I let it percolate. The final step before shooting is planning how best to illustrate the story in my mind.
As the pandemic, the toxic political and social climate, and general quality of life presented a troublesome reality, I continued to make these photographs. I have been including my husband Joel in recent imagery, examining scenes in our marriage. Anxiety about aging and isolation remain, albeit with some hope for the future mixed in.