I got to do something fun and unusual last weekend. A friend of Peter's (and now a friend of mine) Daniel is an artist and was doing a series of photographs. He gets volunteers to pose for him, and the latest series has a theme which pushed my buttons. But probably not how you think. Hmm....clowns. OK there, I've said it. I know I'm not alone in thinking clowns are creepy and weird, hell Stephen King wrote a horror novel on one and anyone with a remote interest in serial killers would know of John Wayne Gacy. Freaky, creepy and just plain wrong. So of course once this unease towards clowns was discovered, I think Peter and Daniel were more interested and amused to see if I would do it.
If the last 12 months has taught me anything, it's to jump in with both feet. An experience was there to be had, and just maybe something amazing and/or interesting might be produced. And best of all, Peter and I got to pose together. Daniel said he wanted us to dress in top to toe black, so for us that's pretty much 'come as you are'. The hard bit was applying the makeup. Unless you cake it on, face paint is kinda patchy and hard to finesse the fine details, without a bit of practice. Well, us novices did the best we could, and with a few extra props provided by Daniel we were off to his studio. It was all over quicker than I imagined, and it was the blast I thought it might be. Any one who's known me for a while, will know I LOVE a dress up. Any excuse will do. Yep - and even as a clown if required.
Peter and I both thought it would be an experience, and especially as we really love Daniel's work. So we didn't mind what we looked like, as long as Daniel got images he thought worthy of his series. And luckily for us, there were three. Friends of mine had posed for Daniel, for a different series in which there may have been some nudity, and I had seen how they were initially confronted by seeing themselves. Sure, I had all my kit on, but armed with this knowledge, I went into this knowing it wasn't about me. It's not really a photo of 'me'. And perhaps that is the fun bit.
I had spent the last few years feeling quite unhappy about myself and had become adept at dodging cameras. You learn to be the one taking the photos, that way you're not in them. I hadn't liked a photo of myself for ages. But with all the change in my life, perhaps I was realising that when I looked at those photos, I saw the unhappiness. Now I'm calmer about so many things in my life and am generally so much happier. Good or bad photos of me, it doesn't matter. But mostly and comfortingly, I can see myself. I feel like I fit within my skin again, and it's been such a long time since I had.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. How very true. To quote Oscar Wilde, 'Life is too short to be taken seriously'. Sometimes you need a little dress up and to step out in front of the camera, because even through all that make up, maybe you can see yourself. And if you're lucky - maybe have some fun with fantastic friends. I've included a photo of Peter and I, in our clown-gloriousness, in the mirror at Daniel's place. You know, you gotta laugh.