What started as a way to get reacquainted with her camera has turned into a meme-able Internet sensation for one New York photographer.
Kaija Straumanis started posting her “Stuff Being Thrown at My Head” photos (title courtesy of Reddit, not the photographer) as part of Project 365 on Flickr. She chose the self-portrait option over the object one and chose a “ratty kickball” from her parents’ basement to pose with.
“I thought having it thrown at my head would be a good place to start,” Straumanis tells HLN.
Straumanis says she takes her own photos -- usually in a local park -- using a tripod and a trigger remote. But she’s not the one throwing stuff at her head. No one is, actually.
“That’s the big reveal: Nothing has ever been thrown at my face in the pictures,” she says.
She explains that the photos are all composites: A number of photos taken separately and layered on top of each other to create the final product (although there’s a lot more artistry that goes into it).
Straumanis says she holds the object -- like the kickball -- in a number of places around her face to emulate the throwing motion. She holds it differently with her hand for every frame, so she can eventually crop her hand out of the shot and make it look like the ball is hitting her.
“I was standing in my parents’ bathroom, mashing the ball against my face to see how things would look,” Straumanis says.
“I feel like it’s disappointing that I’m not actually getting beat up,” she adds. “I’m duping the Internet!”
Photography is just a hobby for the NYC book editor and translator, but Straumanis says she plans to continue taking these types of photos and hopes to put them together into a calendar (hey, she already has the shots of the Easter eggs and the pumpkin). But she admits she prefers travel photography and has an “obsession with macro photography.”
Straumanis adds that the “Headshots” project (her original title for the series) has helped her grow personally: “I slowly progressed from taking secret photos in my apartment when my roommate wasn’t home and being really self-conscious about it to going to a park with a pumpkin.”
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