"Purple Flowers and Green Grass", Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NYC, 7/2012. Juliana Beasley
For the last couple of months, perhaps longer I have wanted to begin a series of self-portraits as part of a new project. But, how to photograph myself? I had so many questions... everything from the technical to how I wanted to represent myself as I am right now at this time in my life.
I had fleeting glimpses or sketches in my head of myself posed in various locations, in various costumes or even without clothing at all. I feel the need to expose myself as honestly and as intimately as I have tried to photograph my subjects. And to revel in all my flaws and imperfections... that which like the word vulnerability has become an intrinsic part of my vision.
I have yet to go out to the Rockaways and perhaps, shoot what I have said to my closest friends would be my last summer working on a very long term project...a project that has much significance to me.
Lately, my creativity is sharing a space in my mind. I have begun to concentrate more on my health. One gives life to the other. Without my emotional, physical and spiritual health, I am not only worthless to myself but to my photography and even more importantly to others.
Just yesterday, I took a walk with Howard. I took him to our special place in Prospect Park... a quiet nook where few people gather even on busy summer weekends. We lingered in the shade on a sweltering summer day-- Howard to hot to be bothered to run after his ball. I poured some water into a travel dog bowl I carry in my bag for him. He lapped away as I wiped away the sweat dripping from my eyebrows with a worn bandana.
I was wearing my new skirt... one that is shaped so stylishly and in fashion this summer. A pattern of purple flowers dappled on white fabric covered my thighs. When I looked down to my knees, calves and toes extended in front of me, I noticed how lovely the colors of the skirt, my skin and the green grass played of of each other so naturally. I felt very feminine. A rare and rich moment. I felt the quiet and solace of being alone with my dear friend, Howard whose lack of conversation felt like a simple hushed blessing.
And this is my first self-portrait. I picked up my phone and took the image and loved it right away. I posted it on Facebook. I hoped that my inspiration was finally rekindled.
Today, I went back today with my digital camera and restaged the image. As with all redramatizations, I'm not sure I got the same sprinkling of sunlight upon my calves or the fall of my skirt but for now, I am satisfied.