December 11th, 2007

Me Then, and Me Now

A photographic self-portrait is the author’s attempt to present himself as he wishes to be seen, and at the same time is a subconscious reflection of his core personality. Now, consider the famous psychoanalytical model of self that is called “The Johari Window,” named after its creators Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham.

Joe and Harry say there are four components, or panes, of the window of self:

1. OPEN. Those parts of ourselves that are known both to us and others.
2. HIDDEN. Things we know of ourselves that we keep hidden from others.
3. BLIND. Things about us that we don’t know but others do.
4. UNKNOWN. Things that are hidden from both ourselves and others.

When we take pictures of ourselves, does the Unknown reveal itself? I like to think it does, because we’re always surprised when we look at a contact sheet from a self-portrait session. It’s in the selection process that the real complications begin. The images we discard or delete are perhaps more revealing of our hidden side than the ones that we choose.

Company, At Last!

Fifteen minutes ago Nino, my landlord, and Giovanna, his 10-year-old daughter, arrived at my door with a globe-like glass bowl containing one small goldfish. I have agreed to take care of it while they are on a holiday in Germany. They will return Saturday. Meanwhile, I must feed this fish—whose name I failed to get—every two days.

I don’t mind doing this because since my cat Pushi died last year, I have had no company in this villa. But then on the other hand I feel mild anxiety. This is a huge and serious responsibility. What will I do if this poor creature suddenly gets sick and dies? What will I tell little Giovanna?