September self portrait: “Under Water”. Theme: reflection.


For September, I chose the theme of the shoot.

I chose reflection.

I developed different ideas, but landed on the above as my submission photographed in our tub at our condo.

I thought this particular image of me immersed sideways and looked at camera with big red eyes and upside down bulgy eye bags reflected a sense of fatigue from the insanely busy month we’ve had. We’ve shot beautiful high-end furniture, an editorial, a catalog and several interiors.

Our tub is very small, doesn’t hold water when the stopper is pulled and we never use it, so to get this image was a good challenge.

My original idea was to be completely submersed in a tub and I would be facing camera for a bust/neck up shot (as opposed to this shot from the side). The reflection of my face would fall directly above my head like a growth coming out of my hair.

This month turned into one of our busiest ever, and finding the tub/whirlpool large enough to house my torso down proved difficult.

My first attempts at this shot proved even more difficult because I tried laying a black plastic bag down in the tub, as I wanted a moodier atmosphere and something not tub like.

The bag floated, and made all kinds of stupid bag hills that blocked my face.

The other challenge was finding something to give the shot an underwater look without renting an underwater rig. I used a glass vase that proved difficult to use as well.

Difficult is definitely the theme I’m trying to present here.

I’m also turned on by treatments that people like Billy Rood do to photos, which is why I tinkered around with multiple images at multiple exposures and angles.

A big thanks to Tina for pulling the trigger on this one and putting up with my crazy water antics by risking our gear’s deadly demise if we slippery/sloppity dropped flashes and cameras in the water.

Just a reminder: I’m working on this self portrait challenge with fellow photographer Sunny Lee, whose completing her challenge in the great state of North Carolina. Her submission this month is a motion picture. Check it below and read her rationale here. By the way, you NEED to read the rationale. It’s moving and beautiful: