Let me describe to you the most difficult undertaking I have gone through as an amateur photographer. It is an undertaking that is incomplete, but may be a lifelong pursuit. It is the capture of something that is infinitely valuable, but a very finite number of people can possibly comprehend the weight of the photograph. And yet it was something that I did offhandedly; something I didn’t think about until I actually had to think about it.
This blog is about the portrait I took of my mother.
How could I possibly approach this assignment? In my adolescence, I looked into my mother’s eyes every day of my life. I saw such a variety of expressions, of emotions and of desires. She is the most familiar face in the world to me. I know her better than almost anyone else on this planet. Now that I have forced myself to confront this assignment, I see no manner in which I can complete it in a way that is satisfactory to me. How can I, in one photograph, capture who she is to me?
Tonight was my first attempt, and it will be the first in a great many attempts. My strategy was to edit as quickly as possible, without the gravity of the assignment weighing on me. I edited as quickly as possible, shooting as if I were shooting a bird or an inanimate object. My edits took as little time as possible. When sentiments started weighing in on my decisions, I made a decision as quick as possible and moved on to the next bit of editing.
It is imperfect, and it is only a first attempt, but here it is.