In Norwegian a navlebeskuer is someone who’s so busy looking at their own navel they can’t see anything else. Today that’s me. But at least I’m looking through a breathtaking camera with a macrosetting that is clearly going to leave my old Nikon F401s gathering dust in the bottom of a drawer.
When I was seventeen or eighteen I would draw my hand again and again, almost daily, drawing my hand drawing. This weekend I’ve found myself repeating this discovery and creation of myself, but now with my new camera rather than with pencil and paper.
Drawing your own hand drawing is natural: it’s the first motif you see when you pick up your pencil and wonder what to draw. It’s harder to aim a camera at the hand pressing the shutter. A different technology provides different motifs. Lying on the sofa reading the manual and trying the various settings, your tummy is likely to be the subject of one of your first photos. This variation on the partial self-portrait appeals to me.
If I were to write a sentence to go with this photo it would go something like this: “Seven years after giving birth my belly button still doesn’t collect lint.” And if I were feeling like justifying being a navlebeskuer I would suggest that you have a look at Liz Miller’s Moles, which is an absolutely beautiful piece exploring the stories of bits of a body. She does do a lot more with her moles than I with my belly button, I’ll admit that freely.