Reading Jim Grey’s recent Blog on the subject of Bathroom Mirror Selfies made me think about the ones I have done, and the ones that I want to do soon. He also mentioned the importance of Photography as Therapy., as any Art form can be. It certainly has worked that way for me, carrying me through serious illnesses twice now.
I am posting this to Celebrate my Birthday! Something that wasn’t assured just a few month ago. And I am going forth with my Series “Facing 60”. Starting here and now I will post self Portraits from time to time at different ages and stages……
About 10 years ago I was starting a self-portrait project called “Facing 50”. I had read an article by someone who had documented their life through self portraits taken over 20+ years. But my Project ended up being derailed by Breast Cancer. You think I would have learned from that and NOT tried to do a “Facing 60”. Undaunted, I started on that Series anyway, and it was derailed by a brain tumor that IS NOT Cancer, but nevertheless a problem. Having anything growing in your Brain that doesn’t belong there is a problem.
As you can see below I started the original Project on Ash Wednesday in 2010. In this case I was experimenting with my 20 ft cable release and my M645. A little soft focused because I had to ‘guestimate’ the distance. I featured one of my favorite images……
So, I had taken a few photos of myself before the current events. My husband had taken quite a few photos of me to post on my “Through the Glass” blog posts. To Summarize “Facing 60” will contain a variety of “Self-Portraits” and evolve into a Project Page.
So this is where I started 9 years ago when my Cancer treatment had ended, I was on the road to recovery and starting a new career:
And now for some Mirror-Selfies: One full-frame showing all the lovely bathroominess and the rest cropped Rollei TLR 6X6 to remove as much of the Bathroom as possible. I’m going to do a reshoot in this mirror when I get home. Next time I will not have the shower curtain line going through my head!
This post IS for Good Friday. But there is also a Story to be told. This was my second visit to the Riverside Cemetery in Denver. Dragging around my Mamiya 645 in its rolling case. The Riverside Cemetery is a place to go for History Addicts, as it is the oldest Denver Cemetery. It needs some love, but is now being managed by The Friends of Historic Riverside Cemetery.
But things aren’t as they seem, when I scanned the film from my second visit I reversed the negative. And on my first visit I had taken the Long View. The original perspective and correct orientation is below. What do You Think?
Notice the lovely Oil Refinery in the background, which is why on my second visit, I moved in closer to “crop in the camera”, and show the face of Mary. I also had better light on the second go around.
The Reality So Subtle Pinhole: Still working out the Range Finding on this camera. I have the filter-option 6X6 model. I have to say this camera has the smoothest mechanism of any Pinhole I’ve ever used. So I’ll take it with me and work on the range (maybe I should watch some of the YouTube videos?)
And Finally, my “riding shotgun” always in the front seat and ready Minolta X-700: My jump out of the car and shoot camera. I have 3 of these and they are all going. I use my trusty Tamron-adaptall 28-200 zoom. A combination I have been using since the early 90’s.
OK, It occurs to me that I won’t really use all of these cameras in a 3-4 month period. Which one would you leave behind?
From the vagaries and ups and downs of life. I find myself recovering from surgery with time to reflect. Another Intersection of Life and Art.
As you read this I am on my way to the Mayo Clinic, Phoenix Arizona for a Consultation. But here is where The Story Begins:
On October 3, 2018, I was diagnosed with a “brain mass”. Vision problems had sent me to the Ophthalmologist. His testing and measurements of my left eye indicated something bad was going on behind that eye. He sent me to the emergency room, calling ahead to discuss with the Dr. what tests would be appropriate.
The Symbol of My Journey
(The Ambiguity of the Mirror from “The Artist’s Studio” symbolizes my Journey. So it will be the featured Image for these medical update posts…….)
When I arrived, they were ready for me and ordered an MRI with contrast dye, no questions asked. The diagnosis: Brain tumor of unknown type growing behind my left eye; referral the the Neurosurgeons.
But, there is also a back story: I am an 8-year breast cancer survivor. So I also (and for the rest of my life) have an Oncologist. He now enters the mix. His fear is a metastatic spread of my previous cancer, which would be a sure death sentence.
Weeks of testing: Bone Scans, PET Scans, CT Scans…………All showing no breast cancer; Dodged that bullet! But I still have an unidentified tumor in my head that needs to be identified so the best treatment can be determined. All non-invasive procedures exhausted, now it is time the the Neurosurgeons to perform a biopsy.
So how do they access that area behind the Eye? By drilling holes through you sinuses. The ENT Surgeon does that. I didn’t even get a black eye from this; but I do have a puffy face. My worst bruise was from the arterial blood pressure tap-in. Apparently when you have brain surgery, they tap an artery to have the most accurate blood pressure.
Biopsy Results: I have a rare but treatable/survivable brain tumor (Which I will name and discuss later). It is in effect a birth defect. It was supposed to be reabsorbed as my little fetus grew, but it wasn’t. And when that happens you have a little guy in your head that probably won’t be a problem unless you are 1 in a million me.
My Neurosurgeon removed what was safe to remove without doing harm. It was affecting my optic nerve (first symptom), my Pituitary Gland and Carotid Artery (the brain’s source of blood).
Follow-up will require a unique radiation treatment only available in a few places. So I have been referred to The Mayo Clinic in Phoenix AZ.
POSTSCRIPT: Ongoing, I will be taking a road trip to Phoenix (Dates TBD); loading up the 4Runner with my camera gear and film (bought for a cancelled trip to the Everglades). Radiation I know will be 5 days a week for 8-10 weeks. So I will be doing photography as I feel up to it and posting as I go. Exploring Arizona for that time and keeping OldSchoolPhotoLabs very busy.
What a moment to be on a ‘Best Of’ list……….Film Photography Blogs that You Should Follow.….. That’s a Real Win, and non-distracting. I’m on the list, so I don’t have to keep trying to BE on the list. And I made the list for Blogging Here, not on someone else’s site.
I’ll take that as a sign that Untangling myself from needless social media distraction is right direction.