Friday, November 9, 2007

go, dog(faceboy), go! a photo essay with zero visual consistency

I have a Flickr friend named Leslie who just this past summer finished the same MFA program I graduated from several years ago. I've known her just a few months but feel very connected to her anyway--in part because she puts her "self " out there all the time with an endless stream of incredibly inventive photos, including many self-portraits, along with hilarious, thoughtful, biting, and vulnerable written commentary, and in part because, with her willingness to just go for it creatively, she has been a role model to me.

Leslie is a photographer, poet, essayist, mosaicist, baker, and I'm sure a bunch of other things I don't know about or have forgotten, not to mention wife to the aging but still hot Mr. Dogfaceboy and mother to an exquisite girl named Serena. She does all these things with honesty, humor, intensity, wisdom, and passion.

Just today, Leslie broke the truly awesome news on Flickr that Simon & Schuster (you've heard of them, right?) has bought her book about cake.

Even though I've done like two self-portraits in my life and have no idea what I'm doing, and even though I hadn't managed to shower yet (what a surprise), I wanted to do a congratulatory self-portrait to post on Flickr. Needless to say, my shoot didn't turn out as planned.

This was supposed to be a wide-eyed, mouth-agape hallelujah shot, but I look as frightened as I do happy. Also, am I trying to chomp down on that border there and just eat my way out of the shot, or what?

Hey, Leslie! Way to go! Thumbs up! Except I appear to be picking my nose.

Okay, thumb is up but nowhere near nostril; that's great. But am I now about to dig something out of my ear? And why is my hand bent so awkwardly?

Aha! I can hold the camera with my left hand and do a much more flattering right-handed thumbs-up. But wait a minute; is someone giving me head at the same time?

Switching my approach entirely, I decided to shoot myself spotting something up in the sky, because Leslie's flying high right now, because she loves birds, and also because a good friend of Leslie's (one who happens to be a skilled photographer) posted this congratulatory photo.

But again, I seem more confused and concerned than anything else. And because I'm so close in, it's not really clear that I'm looking skyward. So how about going wide?


Okay, I'm in focus, which is nice. But I think you'll agree that I look too much like I'm pointing out the gutter problems to the roofer.

Getting frustrated.

I decided to go back to the thumb idea, because it occurred to me that I could actually put the camera down and use both hands. Maybe two thumbs instead of one would render the tone twice as jubilant?

Barely a thumb in sight! Not to mention, once again, that small technical problem called lack of focus, which seems to keep biting me in the ass. Let's try that again.

Yes, thumbs. Two fabulous thumbs. Christ, I'm all thumbs! And yet. Focus, woman, focus!

For no reason I can divine, I returned to the hand-held camera and one thumb concept--perhaps because I realized that I hadn't fully mined it for all its creative possibilities. Here it is with a twist: the distraction of one of our cats cruising by.

And then I had to go pick up the kids. That's all I got for you, dogfaceboy, except this: CONGRATU-FUCKING-LATIONS!!!


Aunt Teena said...

You are a riot. I had no idea you were so funny.

dogfaceboy said...

Wait, how do you fave a blog?!?!

Wonderful, hilarious, and full of great pictures of YOU!

dogfaceboy said...

Plus, I say this as a friend but also as a published writer: you are really good when you do humor. :-)

family-of-five said...

omygod I am crying. tears. actual tears. thanks for all the self-portraits, you know how I've been waiting. so long.

fuck, my nose is running. my god, woman.

Ann said...

Oh god, I'm dying over here. This is unbelievably funny.

Jonathan said...

Wonderful self portraits... of course now I'm thinking "I could do something like this" (seeing as nobody else will let me photograph them)

Aaryn said...

oh my god...that is a fucking amazing and amazingly hilarious tribute! i sprayed coffee out my nose onto my computer just now. thankfully, it's my work computer and not my personal computer. lovely work, both the photos and the writing. yes, indeed.

(found you through family-of-five and am so thankful i clicked on the link.)

Stacy said...


Yes, I was crying from laughing so hard. But then it was time to put my son to bed. I was still laughing as I walked down the stairs with him and he asked me, "Why you laughing, mama?"

Focus, woman, focus!

Deb Abramson said...

Jesus, it's not that funny!

dogfaceboy said...

I know. What are these people talking about? And why aren't they commenting on MY blog?