No point in asking Kaija Straumanis what it felt like when she got the idea for her recent photo series; there are way too many metaphorical responses already inside the series itself.
“Headshots” is a collection that depicts things being thrown at the New York-based photographer’s head. Each shot shows the object–a kickball, a book, a box of strawberries–at the precise moment of contact when it and her face become one. There she is in each image, with her hair mussed and glasses askew, bravely continuing with whatever task she was in the middle of (occasionally just staring into the camera.) The photos live on Straumanis’ Flickr page, but they have also gone viral after popping on Reddit. Viewed together, they are either a lesson of perseverance in a world that seems constantly out to get each of us, or simply a long look at a woman who gets hit in the head a lot.
Or does she? Straumanis, who is originally from Latvia, takes her own photos with a tripod and a trigger remote, and apparently nothing ever actually hit her in the face. Instead, the photos are composites of many photos layered on top of each other. Straumanis holds the object of the day in several places on or around her face so it seems as though it’s been thrown there. Later, she crops out her telltale hand and voilà!
“I shoot the self-portraits myself,” the photographer tells us. “The only time anyone has been with me is for the pumpkin and the strawberries. I made my mother–who was in town visiting–and my then-roommate come with me to the park for the respective shoots so I wouldn’t feel like an ass all by myself, in public, holding a smashed pumpkin or strawberry tin against my head.”
Straumanis is a book editor by day who started this series as a 365 project on Flickr to help master her photography skills. It seems like she is well on her way, and she has definitely already mastered the facial deadpan. Up next, her goals include: not getting hit by stuff in real life.
“I’m maybe more [accident-prone] lately than when I was little, but mostly walking into door handles or desk-edges,” she says. “I’ve never broken a single bone, and would like to keep it that way.”
Have a look at more images from the series in the slides above.