The Self Portrait

Before the trend of the ubiquitous “selfie”, a likeness of one’s self – whether a photograph, painting, drawing, poem, song or any other creative form – tended to be more thoughtful and considered.

Personally, there’s something of myself in everything I create, and many argue that it is near impossible for us to express anything that isn’t autobiographical in some way.

For the purposes of this conversation though, let’s stick to the more traditional and literal photography self portrait. 

Have you taken many of your self?

Here are some of mine over the last 10 years, in roughly chronological order.

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Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

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What are your thoughts on the self portrait? If you’ve made any, why? And if you haven’t, why not?

Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

Thanks for looking.

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14 thoughts on “The Self Portrait”

  1. Dan, I love these “selfies”! Very creative and unique, I really enjoyed looking through these.

    The only selfies I take are the ones where my face is partially hidden by a cat or a camera 😄 they’re snapshots too, nothing like your images!

    1. Thanks Mel, for your kind comments.

      Not so keen on the “selfie” word though, too “Instagram” for me, ha ha!

      Will these shots make you think about doing one or two of your own perhaps?

    1. William, I’m aware of Borgart, but had to Google the Fred C Dobbs reference. I see what you mean, I’ll take that as a compliment. I look kind of old in that shot (older than I feel that is) but I do really like it.

  2. To be sure, a compliment, (though the Dobbs’ character lacked the usual nobility of Bogart’s roles).

  3. Great stuff Dan, very creative all. The first is my favorite. Being on the autistic spectrum any kind of selfie is right up there with a trip to the dentist or holding my hand on a hot stove.

    1. Thank you Jon. I didn’t realise this was a trait of autism, interesting. What about a shot of a hand or foot for example, rather than your face? Or an enigmatic shot where you’re obscured or blurred? Or does this all full under the same umbrella of unpleasantness for you?

  4. I often make one of myself in the elevator mirror when I get back from a photo trip. When I use film, it’s a way to record what camera I used. When I use digital, it’s just a way to pass the time in an elevator.

  5. Several of these portraits are a distinct pleasure but my favorite is the fourth. I’m not the only one with his head in the clouds. I’ve never been comfortable with contemporary selfie culture, sort of compartmentalizing here that common, utter blatant narcissism of Instagram and other popular social media but as those roots came long before the internet I don’t spend too much time bashing it, that would be naïve of me. I’ve always admired thoughtful, creative or honest self-portraiture……i love faces, so. They’re windows if only we will take the time to see. The conundrum is we may not see what we think we do, probably more our own worlds or worse yet the syndrome of “the other”. Of course, I like the point you’ve sort of made already in the comments here….self-portraiture means different things. Never really seriously attempted self-portraiture. Too ugly. Don’t want to break my camera.

    1. Thanks Jason, for looking, and your comments. There’s a part of me that longs to photograph people. Not street photography, more like ambiguous close ups of delicious curves. Since alas my wife is unwilling, I have all but abandoned that side of photography, but I wonder if I could explore more self portraiture.

      I’m thinking something like Edward Weston did, where he photographed the human body, sand dunes, peppers, mushrooms, onions, even toilet bowls, and in each it was the curves and lines and light and shadow that came to the fore – and on some level made all of these different objects equal – equally abstract and equally beautiful.

      In compiling this post I forgot how many images I’ve made, that aren’t standard “selfies” but with layers or close ups and so on. Food for thought.

      I know you said you like faces, but any of us have other aspects and angles we could photograph – or obscure, like a few of mine above.

      Thanks for getting me thinking more!

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