To spot yourself in a mirror, a glass reflection or the eye of someone else is an acute mark of your existence that day. We have an obsession with existing, and this habit we always keep. To remember our existence can be preserved with photographs, videos, words forming memory. A study of ourselves is what is most common if we take a picture, if we take a picture of our friends, our friendship radiates off the people we put our camera too, making a reflection upon you.
The same goes when approaching a conscious decision to catch your existence that day, when no one else may. I find myself sometimes saying to a friend, take a picture of Luke and I, for example. To really think about why I ask this is the question we need to ask ourselves. We want to prove our existence, I was here and I was happy, I was good looking, my hair looked fantastic that day, the sun was shining incredibly and this was the day something changed for me. If we think of memory, and it is triggered by visual information, which comes in many forms, but the most important form is pictures. That is why we cling to them as if they hold all the keys to finding out about our existence as people.
The self portrait, can be carried out in different ways, we have seen Lee Friedlander, to name an obvious example, but his photographs held a playful take on the mirror/reflection self portrait image. The same can be seen in your families archives, Instagram feeds and social network feeds. We get a warm feeling when someone likes our picture of ourselves and we get on with our day, people know I existed today and thats all that matters.
Megan’s photographs, taken over the span of 9 years (2003 - 2012), capture this sensation. In an image she steps back to realise her place in that time, when everyone else is amongst her continuing as normal. There is something strange about this act, but it is beautiful all the same. To get a reflection of yourself, you can count yourself as being here, what I used to look like, where I used to go and what I used to do. But it goes further than this I feel, it speaks of our need to remember, above all, and this use of self portraiture takes it from being an act of vain but takes it to an act of contemplation.
To extend this thought, the act of getting up to take a picture removes her from the social scenario, resulting in missing the action to use a cheesy phrase. The very act of separating herself from the scene for a short moment is a small contradiction to the point of existing as our existence becomes one of self awareness over actual social engagement. We remove ourselves when we take our picture as the act is unnatural to our natural behaviour. To pick up a camera, a mechanical structure if you like, to record something that our eyes are seeing, is an unnatural but strange phenomenon. Even in the use of Instagram for example, we detract ourselves from the goings on to show everyone our point of existing on that night, we are looking at a screen, we are looking into or down to a viewfinder not actually participating. What we see in Megan’s photographs are much more involved than a standard social network feed, and the comparison only goes as far as the act of taking pictures, not how they are taken. These pictures are nurtured, crafted and given a beautiful care in their approach and execution.