Margaret as Red Marilyn

I feel a little like an egomaniac posting two self-portraits in a row. In fact, I hesitated to use this photo for that very reason. I did have an alternate. But the moment the assignment came to use a photo that was RED, then I just knew that this is my favorite picture using that color. The mood of it is red, and it recalls a very famous red scene in a classic movie. I call a lot of my photos with me as the subject “self” portraits. In fact, I usually involve someone else to actually push the button. This person is usually Andrew or Fred. Truthfully, doing portrait after portrait of myself is a very liberating activity for me. And as another photographer said, “If you like to do self-portraits you will always have a willing model.

There is a little story behind this picture, inspired by Miss Monroe in “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend”. I had been doing a series of photos to promote my jewelry using various local women portraying famous people. I called it “Icons and Divas.” During this time I was also spending more and more time with friends who perform as female impersonators. And, as I once said, “If you hang out with drag queens you’ll end up wearing false eyelashes”. You just will. So, when it was time to do a shoot with Marilyn I decided, “Why not?” Let’s face it. Many little girls have fantasized about Miss Monroe…what it would be like to be her, what it would be like to know her intimately. This photo is a testimony to the amazing skills of my pals Andrew Pentecost (Angel Electra) and Arnold Myint (Suzy Wong). Andrew did this makeup job that is so another side of me that I had never seen, and Arnold loaned me the dress and helped style the photo. What an incredible fun night. I think we did this photo about five years ago, when I was 68.

Self-Portrait…a study in lights and shadows

Self-portrait in San Miguel de Allende
Self-portrait in San Miguel de Allende

I enjoy taking self-portraits. Actually, I usually have some help with these from Fred, my faithful shutter pusher.  I fell in love with the lighting and atmosphere in La Mezcalaria, a restaurant in San Miguel with a Oaxacan theme, and thought it would be an interesting place to take pictures. I always make sure the camera settings are the way I want them while I use Fred as a “body double.” Then I turn it over to him, and have him keep shooting until I see one I like, which usually takes dozens of shots to get that right one. But, the real fun for me, in any photo, is PhotoShop. Self-portraits are a way that I explore my state of mind.

The Photo 101 assignment today was a photo with dark shadows and mystery. I immediately thought that this one would be the one to use.