January Self Portrait: Gutter Glitter

Part of my goals this year is to move forward with photography (in many different aspects). With a nod toward that goal, I decided to emulate a TT creator who chose to do a self portrait each month of 2022. By doing a personal self portrait each month, I can explore different themes and styles (in shots, costume, and edits), improve at creative portraiture, and personally get more comfortable in my skin as my body image has really suffered since Ozempic caused massive weight gain in late 2020 through 2021.

Last weekend, I took January’s photos, a shoot I called Gutter Glitter after a song from Switchblade Symphony. There were two locations that inspired these photos, a drainage ditch and an industrial park, both of which I pass regularly as I travel back and forth to the animal shelter that I foster through. I had the idea to contrast an ethereal/fantastical costume with the grimy reality that is litter, graffiti, runoff, and rust. Concrete and metal vs gossamer and light.

Let me just say that this is one of the most uncomfortable things I’ve ever forced myself to do. No one expects a person to dress up like they’re going to Ren Faire, smear glitter haphazardly across their face, and then walk down a busy public street in an industrial area, or jump into a drainage ditch. Believe me, you get a LOT of stares. Jason came along with me, because frankly, I needed the moral support, plus I didn’t feel safe going into that situation alone, and he made a great stand-in model for focusing my camera! We went to three locations – the two mentioned above, plus a utility pole at the edge of my neighborhood. (At a four way stop. Where I was close enough to each car to see the baffled and/or bemused expressions on every person’s face.) It was right around sunset, so there was perfect golden hour light to take these photos, which get progressively darker as we went along. (And hey, at the last stop, the stares went so far as to involve an old man across the street watching us and laughing!)

Uncomfortable? Yes, I was! But honestly, the longer the night went on, the more comfortable I got, even with the old man laughing at me in that third location. A lot of the photos weren’t great – I’m not very good at posing for the camera, never have been! – but there were several dozen that came out phenomenal. Once I got them edited, I had a really fun and creative story to tell.

What should I do in February? Any suggestions?

OMG. I found out four days after this photo session that there was a drug-deal-turned-shooting at the halfway point between my second and third location, while we were driving from the gutter to the industrial park. We were literally driving by as the shooting happened. Holy f*ck…


About Amanda

Agender empty-nester filling my time with cats, books, fitness, and photography. She/they.
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