The ironic thing about me being a photographer is that I, myself, do not like being in front of a lens, and I rarely like how I look in photographs. This discomfort stems from childhood. As an Asian child with white parents, I wondered, with every glance in the mirror, “Who is that person looking back at me?” My likeness never matched my perception of who I was, or who I wanted to be. That person in the mirror was someone from a faraway place — an awkward, foreign place — who certainly didn’t belong in my world. Yet when I blinked, she blinked too.
So when someone recently challenged me to complete a month of self-portrait work, I said hell. no! Why would I want to do that?! Well, it turns out that there are many things to be learned from the self-portrait process, and once I really thought about how challenging it would be for me, my ambition took over, and I said yes.
Throughout the summer, then, I plan to complete nine self-portraits: three installments of three images each. These numbers aren’t random; I chose them because of their significance in Asian culture, and therefore their significance to me.
So stay tuned for these images and for the stories I have to tell! I’m nervous but excited… I’ve already begun working on the first installment and while I know I’ll be nervous about sharing it, I’m already pleased with how cathartic the self-portrait process really is.
Watch this space or follow me on Instagram (@shimphotography), where I'll post the portraits as I complete them. Visit my blog for more info behind the images.