I Am Not Who I Am (Rembrandt And I)

rembrandt inspired photography

One morning I listened to Tomas Sadlacek talk about the story of the prodigal son. When the prodigal son ends up poor and alone the Bible says “He came to himself.” Sadlacek said this phrase seemed very weird to him. He said: “Somehow we as people are not ourselves.” He linked it to God, who says: “I am who I am.” And that with human beings it should be: “We are not who we are.” 

Later in the day I was leafing through a book about Rembrandt and it made me wonder why he painted the way he did. Those lights and shadows, the mysteriousness, the atmosphere. So I made a little study of it. I took a photo of myself and edited it the way Rembrandt painted. The result was interesting. A boring, awkward self portrait had turned into an interesting, mysterious portrait of a woman who wasn’t me.

The fact that we as humans are not who we are gives us room to try, to change, to adjust, to see ourselves in a different light. Keep what we like, discard what we don’t like. Rembrandt said that life etches itself onto our faces as we grow older, showing our violence, excesses or kindnesses. And so I hope that the older we get, the lovelier we look 😊

photo transformed into rembrandt painting
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