Every Photograph We Make Is A Self-Portrait

We live in an age of selfies and endless self-promotion, vastly different from the time when the only people who ever made a self-portrait were serious artists, including photographers.

But I would argue that anything we photograph is in some way a self-portrait.

Each image we make is an attempt to capture what we feel is most beautiful, interesting and inspiring, and as such is a direct reflection of who we are at our core.

The themes that arise in our photographs represent our fundamental beliefs, desires and identity. 

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For example, I often photograph flowers and leaves up close, with a shallow depth of field.

To me this reflects basic elements of my personality and how I view the world – focusing on a single thing at a time, blurring out all else, finding beauty in tiny, intimate details.

I also frequently photograph decaying, rusting or otherwise weathered man made objects, most often being reclaimed and overrun by plants and trees.

This conveys my fundamental belief in the power of nature and how it will always return stronger, more determined, better evolved.

These are beliefs I’ve held all of my life, growing up in the countryside, wandering and playing in fields and woodland for hours on end.

How about you? Do you believe that every photograph is a self-portrait? How do your best photographs reflect who you are? 

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).

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8 thoughts on “Every Photograph We Make Is A Self-Portrait”

  1. Intriguing thought…Yes, I agree with you, every photo taken is a direct reflection of the photographer in some way. It’s that little nudge that tells us to point the camera and press the shutter. Each person sees uniquely.

  2. Well, they can be…
    But they can also be just snaps 🙂 And they can also be a reflection of what the photographer thinks other people want to see… especially in commercial photography and with people pursuing a “brand” to their name. The beauty of it – like with every form of art – is that it can be what you want it to be. That’s my opinion, anyways…

    1. Yeh I would say with social media too it’s easy to post a few things, see what gets the most interest/likes/faves and then try to make more pictures like that, just to build your popularity. Even if sometimes this happens without you realising at first. Another reason to avoid those sites!

  3. I never thought about it like that, but of course you are so right Dan. I have hardly done any photography for the last year or so, but a recent junk shop purchase (Sony W-50, 2006) has me taking pictures this week.

    1. Oh I’ve had a couple of those W series Sonys, I liked them a great deal! Is it something like a 6 or 7.2MP CCD sensor? They take great pictures and are very compact. Enjoy!

      1. Hi Dan, 6MP CCD sensor. A little pixel peeping revealed that I have been wrong about zoom lenses. This lens is more than sharp enough for my needs. Also the range of 38mm-115mm pretty much ideal for me.

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