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  • Writer's pictureAlicia Liebel-Berg

Project 1 - 39 Self Portraits

Once the idea of the Year of 39 project came into my mind, I had to reconcile what the project would become.

What was I going to accomplish?

What did I want to create?

What new things did I want to try?

I quickly had a list that was gigantic. But, was it feasible?

My ultimate goal? Lay down a road map that I was capable of finishing. Lord knows, there is nothing more depressing for creatives than starting a project and never finishing.

Where to begin?

Since the beginning of the year I have been in bi-weekly sessions with a Career Coach. She reminds me often that when I find myself in paralyzation and self-doubt, the theme that I need to return to is:

"What is the obvious answer?"

In my past, I had countless internal debates with myself over the merit of my ideas because I had this notion that my contributions had to be unique. "Well everyone has already thought of that", I would say to myself. Her extremely important question back at me was, "But what if they haven't thought of the obvious?"

Therefore, on my first day of being 39, I am starting my first project: 39 self portraits.

Why? Because I'm a photographer, and what do photographers do? They take self portraits.

How will this project progress?

Over the next year, you can return to this post and I will post my self-portraits as I take them. With each I will post a supplemental paragraph with commentary of what was going through my creative mind that day because I have come to discover that no one knows what is running through my head, except me.

Portrait #1 - "Let's Begin" - April 16, 2021

I have feared this project - for so many reasons. Lifelong issues of body dysmorphia and a lack of confidence kept me from trying. I have hundreds of thousands of photos of so many people. But, I have very few of me that weren't heavily altered to morph into a perfect perception. It has been easier for me to see everyone but myself. Thus, with a heavy amount of apprehension, I knew I had to begin. I worked to simply find a place of comfort and to force my brain not to worry about the background or my look. I didn't try, I kept it obvious, and took a photo of who I was on this day: My first day of 39.

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