I have been photographing myself since 1982. I use a designated camera and each month is captured on one roll of film. If I fail to take a picture the film is advanced so a blank image is recorded, creating a visual calendar. The 2,500+ photographs include my body from head to toe, as well as some of my environment. Mostly, I am at home.
Sometimes friends and family are in the photographs; time weathers their bodies as well: my nieces grow from infants to young adults and two of them now have children of their own, while my parents survive into their eighties and are last pictured on their deathbeds. I am also making digital reenactment photographs in order to record changes in visually dramatic ways.
I know of no photographer who has, or is using my methodology. First, there are no edits. Every photograph is presented—even if I look bad on a particular day, pets act out, or I fail to get in the picture before the shutter is released. Second, I record happy moments (e.g. vacations) and sad ones (my parents on their deathbeds). Third, it’s not just my body that changes: Fashion and hairstyles evolve; pets come and go; typewriters, analog clocks, and telephones with cords disappear; and finally, film gives way to digital and the computer replaces the darkroom. Indeed, the photographs underscore the technological, as well as physical, changes that have occurred over the past thirty-five years—from my youth to the dawn of old age.
While this work is a personal archive and record of my changing body and environment, I’m interested in the passage of time and how these environmental self-portraits can move beyond the personal to address life’s passage.