On a recent winter night, as I was looking out of a window, I saw a scene that I wanted to take a photo of. But I was reflected in the window, as was the scene behind me. As I had no polarizing filter with me to remove the reflections I decided to take the photo of my reflected self. I was pleased with the results…except for one major thing. As soon as I saw the developed photo (it was taken with film), I saw that when taking it, I was not paying attention to my use. The photo shows me that I was hunched over the camera and I was shortening my spine. I was totally focused on the visual scene in front of me. Most likely, my use is not visible to anyone else looking at the photo. But I know myself. I know full well what I’m doing. I didn’t like what I saw, but I prefer not to dwell on the negative. Instead I want to use my reflection as a teaching reflection. The photo shows me that my long-lived habits are hard to break.
Over the years, what with taking Alexander Technique lessons, and training to be an Alexander Technique teacher, and teaching others, I am getting proficient about noticing and correcting my not-so-hot habits as I go about my day…when walking, when talking, when playing flute, when at a computer, when teaching, when dealing with the public, etcetera, etcetera. However, when I photograph, trying to capture a moment, my Alexander Technique chops often seem to evaporate.
The Alexander Technique teaches us how to be aware more often. My goal these days, as prompted by viewing my photo, is to really start paying attention to myself, and being aware of my body, as I am photographing. I will try my best to bring my camera up to me and not my body down to it, just as I do with my flute, and I will see what happens. By the way, I have taken photos of my reflected self often enough when my use is pretty good.
Come to think about it, I am realizing that I haven’t heard much about linking photography with the Alexander Technique. Hmmm…For the record, the photo was taken with my Leica M6, 35mm Summicron lens, and Kodak Portra 800 film.