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2014: A Year of Self Portraits

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 2.53.51 PM
Although I’ve taken hundreds of self portraits since Drew died, I hardly ever share any of them. The above photo is in fact one of the only portraits I’ve shared that is deeply related to my grief. I took it just 4 or 5 months after he died. This scarf made me feel both powerful and protected at the same time…. very important feelings when your whole world falls apart around you. It also made me feel close to him. As a pilot, his love of flight became infectious and deeply inspiring to me… and so anything flight related became a real symbol of hope for me after he died.

This photo represented for me the in-between – not in my old life and not yet able to be in any kind of new life. It is a part of the journey we all must go through when enduring any kind of loss. This photo for me represents my incubation from the world… the time in which I needed to be sheltered in order to become who the person who is able to step forward into a new life one day.

A few weeks ago, after another man’s story inspired me, I shared this post on Widow’s Voice, where I write weekly. In the post, I shared several very private portraits I had never showed anyone. It felt REALLY vulnerable to do, but the response was wonderful and seemed to help many. It got me thinking that there might just be some power to sharing more of this.

So…. My plan is to do a year of self portraits – one a week – to explore my individual journey through grief more deeply. In order to focus on the true emotion and not get hung up on the technical, I am choosing to the full series as photography – a media that I am very comfortable and experienced with already.

My goal is to use both the photo-taking process and journaling in combination to begin to dig deeper into my own grief and myself going through it, to see it from different angles, and to allow myself to be seen and heard doing so.

I’ll admit as I type this, there is something about announcing “I’m going to photograph myself for a year” that feels entirely self-centered and irksome. The old demons come up, saying “Who do you think you are? Who will care about a year of pictures of you?”. Well… for one, I will. I want to know what I will gain from this, learn from it, how I will heal more, and how it might help others to do the same for themselves. I figure that’s a pretty darn good start right there.

So, I’ll be sharing my first portrait a week from today, and every Monday for the year, along with some of the journaling that happens around each image *Shudders at the thought of this!* So vulnerable! But I’m trusting anyone out there reading to be kind to what I give – as I am most certain that most people will be. Until next week… wishing you well.

23 Comments Post a comment
  1. elysejulianne #

    So glad to have found you. I am planning to do the same for the new year for the same reasons.

    All the best xx

    Monday, January 27, 2014
    • Oh wow – will you be sharing on your blog? I would love to follow your year too!

      Monday, January 27, 2014
  2. That’s a fantastic idea. The photo you shared above is just lovely. Thanks for sharing.

    Monday, January 27, 2014
  3. Barbara Michel #

    Sarah, I am continually inspired by you…you are so courageous in not only your personal journey and deep soul work, but your sharing of this journey. As you are healing, you are helping others to heal! And, oh by the way, your photography is simply stunning! I adore this portrait and look forward to more!

    Tuesday, January 28, 2014
  4. Yeah! Go Sarah! You are so inspiring, again! And thank you for sharing all that with us, you really lift my heart up when I see how honest you are.
    Great idea, it’s about getting to know yourself in all your beautiful (and less beautiful, but they are part of your beauty!) aspects, and I’m sure lots of us will be able to identify through you to feelings and emotions they are going through. It is one beautiful project !
    Keep going,
    Rose.

    Saturday, February 1, 2014
    • Thank you so much Rose! That means a lot to me! =)

      Sunday, February 2, 2014
  5. Caroline #

    Sarah you are a very courageous and shining soul… a beautiful example to us all! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Monday, February 3, 2014
  6. Paddy #

    What an inspiration! Thank you so much. I look forward to seeing your portraits.

    Tuesday, February 4, 2014
  7. Dear Sarah,
    I can’t believe I haven’t been following this project of yours. I have so little time on my hands this year that I’ve had to cut off reading blogs entirely (and my own blog has been much neglected to, I haven’t written anything in over a month) Anyway, your portraits are stunning and I’ll try to dive into your posts as soon as I can.
    Holding you in my heart, as always,
    Laly

    Saturday, May 17, 2014
    • Thank you Laly! And no worries – we ALL get busy. I’ve been so busy with this project that I have fallen off reading most of the blogs I used to follow too… so I totally get it. It can be tough to keep up! I’m glad you have enjoyed the images, thank you again for your support. =)

      Sunday, May 18, 2014
  8. beautiful photo- am sure this will be a year of healing. Wish you well on your journey.

    Monday, February 22, 2016

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Self Portrait: Week 1 – “What Is Left?” | 12 Months of Creativity
  2. Week 4 // The Gateway | 12 Months of Creativity
  3. Week 8 // The Climb | 12 Months of Creativity
  4. Week 6 // Desperation | 12 Months of Creativity
  5. Week 7 // Hope | 12 Months of Creativity
  6. Week 5 // The Guardians | 12 Months of Creativity
  7. Week 3 // Relics of our Time | 12 Months of Creativity
  8. Week 2 // The Fallen | 12 Months of Creativity
  9. Week 9 // Bleeding The Darkness | 12 Months of Creativity
  10. Week 10 // The Mask | 12 Months of Creativity
  11. Facing up to Yourself | In Flow

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