Jul 23, 2009

So last fall in Pennsylvania I sat in (when I could) on a dark room photography class at Penn State -- which was gorgeous and mysterious and I would like to spend many many many more hours in the future watching images appear magically on paper! -- and during that time one of the TA's for the class, Rob Martin, asked me to partcipate in this self portrait series he was doing for his MFA. His project? Was having people do self portraits but with him standing in for them. So I had to think of how I'd want to present myself, and then present him like that, and then take the pictures with his camera. So I immediately decided he had to wear the things I always wear -- rings and earrings, red lipstick, black eyeliner, mascara, pale powder, glitter... as I go for the earthy, natural look at all times... I also brought gypsy-ish scarves to drape him with -- and that he had to have little baubles around him and a pile of books there, too... my own books and books of fairytales and a book on Joseph Cornell and at least one old-time noir.. And that he definitely had to be holding and playing my accordion. I thought that right away and then I thought well I have ONLY been studying accordion a few months, is that really what my self portrait should be based around? And then I realized YES INDEED as the accordion is like everything I love (not to mention try to do in fiction) all wrapped up together: it's gorgeous and showy and dazzling and beautiful... like what other instrument do people routinely write their names across IN RHINESTONES?.. and it always has mother of pearl and just all kinds of flash and dazzle to it.. but at the same time it's incapable of making a note that's not touched with melancholy and sadness. Even at its most jaunty and vibrant it's got that sadness underneath, and that's what I love most about it. Plus it's so beautiful but so awkward, really, a bit inelegant... but in the most glamorous way.

So anyway. We did this photo session and he set up lights and I got to direct him and adjust the lights and take the photos, and then later he went through them all and picked the best ones and did his magical things... and now months later there's this show in Chelsea that Rob's in and it's one of my self-portraits that's in it.

And I think it's the first image here that's in the show but here are two he sent me, resized.