bayleemae Ultimate

Birdcage Dreams

A self-portrait taken at 14.

A self-portrait taken at 14.
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People's Choice in Soulful Selfies Photo Contest
Contender in the Visual Poetry Project
Contest Finalist in Inspiring Faces Photo Contest
Well Done
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Peer Award
Outstanding Creativity
KevinStiffler Beautifully_Soft Tsnyder1988 jdmarks64 oskarkunt Demi08 susanhugill +12
Superb Composition
rogerelsey 831John grandpa8 lancegclemons Pverstrepen2 lisajuliettekatnic farshadhamza +7
Top Choice
captjer doloresward freelancejim Inesfernandez ericaleecaruso Ian85 ArtbySteve57 +4
Absolute Masterpiece
Danny_Key peterburu Annamuse callumjamesstudio Andrew08 Anupsids vsidles

Top Ranks

Surreal Academy Photo ContestTop 10 rank
Surreal Academy Photo ContestTop 20 rank week 1
Soulful Selfies Photo ContestTop 10 rank
Soulful Selfies Photo ContestTop 10 rank week 1
Visual Poetry ProjectTop 10 rank week 1
Inspiring Faces Photo ContestTop 10 rank
Inspiring Faces Photo ContestTop 10 rank week 1
Shadow Hunter Photo ContestTop 30 rank
Shadow Hunter Photo ContestTop 20 rank week 1
Portrait Mode Photo ContestTop 30 rank
Window View Photo ContestTop 20 rank
Window View Photo ContestTop 20 rank week 1
Selfie Addict Photo ContestTop 10 rank
Selfie Addict Photo ContestTop 30 rank week 1
10 Comments | Report
timothyjensen Jun 04
Amazing creativity 😉
callumjamesstudio PRO+
Just simply stunning
eaglerider007 Jun 05
Beautifully done….. nice job
piem Jun 12
williambridge Jun 22
DanRT Sep 18
Very nice. Congrats!
Rivertay07 PRO+
Rivertay07 Sep 19
Congratulations a worthy People's choice winner
Rmay1 Sep 19
Congratulations on people's choice in Soulful Selfies contest.
I can see why this is popular
Love the creativity
See all

Behind The Lens

This self portrait was taken in the garage of my childhood home in Fall City, Washington. I clipped a black bed sheet to the ceiling in an attempt to hide what was behind me. I remember propping my camera up on a stack of dusty Christmas boxes; carefully pressing the trigger, and running back to my make-shift scene before the five-second timer went off.
I took this around 11:00 at night. At the time, I lived with my dad, younger brother, and toddler-aged sister who would often interrupt my self-portrait sessions. I've found my creativity peaks in the after hours (and when no one else is watching).
The lighting is set up unconventionally. I turned off all the lights in the garage, and used these bright flood lights my father had for work. The lace fabric was actually a skirt I draped over the light.
I took this self-portrait over ten years ago in 2013. My first camera was a Nikon D300 that I rocked with a standard kit-lens. Before earning gear of my own, I would rent camera equipment from my high school. I don't know what equipment I rented for this image, but I know this: Equipment does not define the photographer. Intention, creativity, and resourcefulness does.
I set out to kill two birds with one shot: build my modeling portfolio, and pass my freshman-year photography class. The assignment was to incorporate shadows. Simultaneously, I was going through a dark patch of my teenage years. All I dreamt of was flying away from my small town. At the time, I would obsess over magazines - and fashion photographers like Lindsey Adler. Taken at fourteen-years-young, this photo is dramatic and 2010 coded. The post-processing is heavily inspired by the purple undertones made-famous by the original Instagram filter. The bird-cage reference winks to "Can't Be Tamed" by Miley Cyrus: The soundtrack to my rebellion. While I didn't land the modeling career, I did pass the assignment with flying colors. These self-portrait sessions sparked my true passion for photography.
Before I had any gear of my own, I rented camera equipment from my high school. I'd stay after class to use the computers and edit my images in Photoshop. For this image, I used the Curve tool to adjust the Hue and Saturation throughout the shadows. To retouch the portrait, I used the Dodge, Burn, and Blur tools. I like to increase the Contrast and Sharpen where I want you to look - which in this case, is my eyes.
In my camera bag
In my bag, I always keep my Canon 5D Mark ii and 35mm 1.4 Sigma Art Lens. The focal length on the 35MM is a beautiful choice for portraits, while still being a versatile option for everyday moments, and low-light environments. I always keep a remote shutter, and a portable, continuous light. To this day - my environment is still my tripod.
Self-portraiture can bring a new set of challenges. You are both the subject, and the journalist. In one aspect, you have full creative control of the visual narrative. In another, you are bound to your own imagination. Creating under constraints forces you to work outside of the box. You don't need expensive gear or an expansive studio to capture soulful portraits.

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