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Thursday, 7 November 2013

My arm hurts... by Matt

I've always been tall - it's a physical trait that has never escaped me. I used to be self-conscious of it, not helped by people peering up at me (even as a child) and asking me how the air is 'up there' or inquiring if my mother put my feet in grow-bags at night.

Hilarious and keen observations, obviously.

Being tall has its uses, once you grow out of the awkward stooping gait acquired by attending infant and primary schools that only cater to children of 'average or below' height. I can reach high shelves, see over things and other people, and for some inexplicable reason I am more likely to be asked to tackle the opening of a difficult jar of pickled onions at Christmas. I find that tea towels are the best method for the latter task.

I don't have any pictures of the process of taking portraits because my tallness was being utilised for one very important task: Holding up the light thingy as Ed so succinctly put in his blog post.

We were trying (and I think we succeeded in doing so) to capture the photobooth style that we had discovered was a most excellent fun  thing to do in the very first sessions of not going shopping. But where those snaps had been in the very forgiving black and white, these shots were to be in full colour.

I've certainly not shied away from taking pictures of myself, I even set it out as a challenge in my head to overcome my hatred of viewing pictures of me. My journey over the past year has been, at times, melodramatic to say the least. In fact I was chatting to a friend over WhatsApp the other day and he remarked that my life had become a bit 'Jezza Kyle' (Jeremy Kyle, in case you were wondering) of late.I used to fear chaos as I thought it marked me out as unable to cope but I'm slowly realising that the secret to chaos is to be within the eye of the storm as much as I can.

And so the seemingly mundane task of holding up flash box whilst all around me people chatted, took photos, were having their photo taken, adjusting tripods and lens focus, and making a lot of tea and coffee allowed me to relax and take stock of the project.

I'll admit that I've felt a lack of focus of late. I am no longer shackled by the camera, although I certainly see things in a new way. I can see a good photo opp where once before I would have sailed by and then cooed over someone else's photograph of the event.But I don't instinctively reach for the camera now. I can relax.

Saturday's session was a rekindling of the energy and enthusiasm that I felt in the first sessions of the project and I was buzzing that we were actually taking portraits. I felt part of the experience more than I ever have before. Certainly more than I did all those weeks ago when I felt irrelevant to the project and expressed my thoughts on Facebook.

I can't wait until this Saturday's session. We'll be doing it all over again and my arms will hurt a bit but it's totally worth it.

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