Self-Portrait Challenge: Contrast, Week 1

The September theme for the Self-Portrait Challenge is Contrast. That should be a pretty interesting one, yes? It could be taken very literally or very subjectively, or a bit of both.

My first week’s attempt is one that started out more literal but perhaps became more subjective.

I wanted to experiment with taking a self-portrait (a fairly straight-forward sort of head shot) in very strong lighting. That’s often not a very flattering thing to do, but it can be interesting and dramatic and I wanted to see what I could come up with.

At first I set up some shots inside, with spotlights and things, and they were ok. But then I wondered what a photo would turn out like if I took it in the light of our uber-bright and horridly obnoxious security light.

See, we have a light on one end of our house, facing the driveway. No, not a light, a LIGHT. It’s one of those ones that comes on at dusk and goes off at dawn, like most streetlights. We used to have one that gave off a rather nice, warm sort of light. But then that one went bad on it and we replaced it a few months ago with the Alien Zombie Light.

J really likes this light. “It’s bright,” he says. And yes, it is bright. There’s no denying that. And I can’t even argue the idea that brightness is one of the points of a security light. But merciful Zeus is the color this light gives off ever ugly!!! It emits a sickly greenish glow that makes everyone and everything it touches look like the walking dead in an alien landscape, hence my “affectionate” (ahem) nickname for it.

With a light that strong, and taking the photo after dark with no flash, I ended up with some literal contrast going on, but this turned out to also be about a contrast of priorities between J and me. Is it enough for a light to just be bright, or does it need to be bright and beautiful? We may never agree on that one.

alien zombie

“Self-Portrait in the Glow of the Alien Zombie Light” (Note: This is not photoshopped other than to crop for size and add the border. That’s the color exactly as it came out of the camera. Nice, huh? Riiiiiiight. Clickable if you want to see it larger in a new window.)

PS….If you look closely, this also gives a slight glimpse of my real hair - no product and no flat-iron, just hanging there in it’s frizzy, wavy, messy, Pre-Raphaelite-wanna-be-ish “glory” for those of you who asked last week to see it un-straightened. ;-)

13 Responses to “Self-Portrait Challenge: Contrast, Week 1”

  1. on 02 Sep 2008 at 8:02 am dee

    wow-you could star in “Wicked” with that light! Under the green, you still look gorgeous.
    I really like your banner painting.

  2. on 02 Sep 2008 at 8:50 am dragonfly

    That is SOME color there, woman. And still you look gorgeous. :o)

    Can’t wait to see the rest of this month’s contrast shots.

  3. on 02 Sep 2008 at 9:43 am Helen

    I like that there’s a subtext to the photo — the contrast between you and J about the light itself. Interesting topic this month…

  4. on 02 Sep 2008 at 11:19 am tiff

    Hey, the next photo can be a contrast of your different types of hair! The frizzy, wavy, messy, Pre-Raphaelite-wanna-be-ish “glory style and the ‘everyday’ hair.

    But just not with that light. Please. It’s kinda icky.

  5. on 02 Sep 2008 at 11:41 am Vedrana

    looks mysterious and green :) but it’s great, xoxo

  6. on 02 Sep 2008 at 12:31 pm janet

    You look very pretty as a alien :-)

  7. on 02 Sep 2008 at 1:11 pm Rebecca in SoCal

    I notice that your feelings about the light come out in your expression–you look distrustful. You don’t look secure.

  8. on 02 Sep 2008 at 5:10 pm Morven

    Having read your post I had X File music in my head but I agree with what dee said - your photo is WICKED. Wicked good that is.

  9. on 02 Sep 2008 at 11:10 pm JC

    Oh my Gah, I can’t believe the color of that light! Makes for a cool photo, though.

    And I love the “Pre-Raphaelite-wanna-be-ish” modifier!

  10. on 03 Sep 2008 at 9:04 am Secret Agent Mama

    Que the X-Files music! Great shot!

  11. on 03 Sep 2008 at 9:14 am Jeremy Stockwell

    Way cool, Deb. Love that the green came in camera and not in post.

  12. on 03 Sep 2008 at 9:09 pm Sandra

    Wow…..neat color! I agree, que the X-Files music! ;) Great Post!

  13. on 04 Sep 2008 at 6:33 pm psumommy

    Ha, love the green! I love the shot, too, and the story behind it!