Source: Anthony Stewart Photography
Self portrait. Even the words bothered him. Why the hell would a self portrait be required of a photographer? The entire point was to be behind the camera. He didn't have even a vague idea as to how to do a self portrait that didn't strip him of the sense of control he got from having the camera in hand.
It was because of this that he'd been procrastinating. For weeks. He left the notice he'd gotten from the gallery sitting on his kitchen counter hoping that its presence would push him. All it did was make him angry. And now coffee stained, crumbled and printed with a date only a day away he was no closer to inspiration or a solution and seeing it only made him more angry.
He placed the package on top of the notice on the counter and felt a vague sense of impending triumph. This was the key that would lead him to the answer he needed. This would be his muse. As he careful slid the knife along the edges of the tapes box he allowed himself to daydream a little. It was his first gallery showing, after all. It was supposed to be a good thing.
He threw back the box top and reached inside, carefully pulling out the bubble wrapped device. He unraveled it from its bulky packaging and felt immediately better as soon as he held it bare in his hand. He marveled at the weight it, or rather the weightlessness. The first manual zoom he'd ever used had been a hand-me-down from his father and the thing had weighed at least five pounds. all by itself. This, though no larger, was like holding a cone of air encased inside a thin metal frame. He'd purchased it for its ability to handle humidity and temperature change without warping but he had to admit the weight decrease was a nice bonus.
He screwed it on to his camera and hoisted it up in from him. It felt like an extension of his arm, like it wasn't even there. But one twist and his world came into focus. He felt an immediate sense of comfort as he viewed his world through the new lens system. Now he was ready to shoot.
He looked around his apartment and started shooting off simple shots. Just to get a feel for the mechanism. It transitioned smoothly, responding to his touch as if it were made for him, and his shots became more rapid and varied. One of the first lessons he’d ever learned about this art form was the fact that there is no perfect lens, it’s just a matter of learning what you wanted to sacrifice. But this zoom handled adjustments so easily and felt so comfortable to him that even the blurred shots had depth and at least one sharp line to attract the eye. He was getting giddy playing his new toy and completely forgot about the cursed assignment he had to do.
Until he turned and saw himself reflected in the mirror hanging on the back of the open closet door. It was angled to catch the light from outside behind him and it made him look like something more than what he was. He zoomed in, blurring out himself behind the camera and focusing in on his new zoom. His finger pressed down on the shutter and he froze. Snap.