I’m going to skip over what we did today in class, which was essentially reviewing the pairs of photos we took yesterday, and jump right into tonight’s assignment: On photographing a person; and, on being photographed.
We had to write about the experience, so I’m going to include that in it’s entirety because it’s after 1 a.m. and I’m tired. I just wrote it.
For the assignment, I thought it would be interesting to photograph each other’s scars. There’s always a story that goes along with a scar. It’s a reminder of your history, and proof that something happened to you.
I don’t like to injure myself. But sometimes after I have, I’m sadistically happy with the battle wound.
I have a lot of scars in various places on my body. I didn’t realize how many I had before I suggested the idea to Matt Forrest, my partner for the assignment. I have scars on my head, my face, the inside of my lip, the outside of my lip, my shoulder, abdomen, arms, hands, and of course, my knees.
The first scar I can remember is a chicken pox scar on my temple that I must have picked when I was four years old. My most recent scar is from an injury I incurred during a soccer game the day before I started the design fundamentals course. I suffered a four inch scrape from my elbow going toward my hand. It was bloody the first day of class. A week later that scab ripped off during a collision with another player at another soccer game.
Matt did not seem to have a problem penetrating my personal space with his camera to get close-up shots of my scars. I felt a mix of vulnerability and pride while he took the photos. I worried that the lens would pick up other things besides whatever scar he happened to be focusing on. Would the photos show things I don’t want people to see?
I have already seen the photos Matt took. Some make me feel embarrassed and some show my flaws. But we all have flaws. And I’m no different from anyone else. I told him to use whatever photos he wanted. Still, it was weird to see photos that focus so closely on my body. I can’t naturally look at myself that closely. It reminds me that everyone gets to see me and from different perspectives a lot more than I do, and I wonder at the potential disconnect between my mind’s eye and reality.
I did not have any problems getting up close on Matt’s scars. The task became more important than whether I was invading his personal space. I was more concerned with getting the camera to focus one inch away from the disfigurements of his skin.
Matt did not have as many scars as me. But I remember the words he used to describe one of his leg scars. He ran at a sprint into a fire hydrant in the dark, crashing into it with his shin. He pulled back his blood-soaked sock to reveal “chunks of fleshy meat.”
I wish my photos of his scars turned out better. Here’s his shin.