I am a loud and enthusiastic fan of the self portrait. People often ask me why, and I get it. As photographers we’re used to being behind the camera, framing the image and directing our subjects. As women many of us are used to looking at photos of ourselves with a very critical eye. Some of us go to great lengths to avoid being in other people’s pictures. Why in the heck would we want to subject ourselves to self portraiture? My answer? Because it can change everything.
For me, venturing into self portraiture provided me with an entirely new perspective from which to see myself (see what I did there?). I’m not a supermodel. I have “issues” like everybody else. I didn’t start taking self portraits because I love the way I look. Actually, I started taking them because I was bored and running out of photography subjects (winter is long in my part of Canada). When it came to editing my self portraits, there was a lot of cringing to begin with. Then I experienced a shift in my thinking. I started looking at the images as I would images of a subject that was not me. I looked at them from the perspective of the photographer, rather than that of the subject. As the photographer the rolls around my middle or the angle of my nose became less important than the image I was trying to create and the story I wanted to tell. Self portraiture became about making something beautiful and in the process I’ve come to look upon myself more kindly. Seeing beauty in an image helps me to see the beauty in me.
Convinced yet? OK, well, here at Mortal Muses we’re a bit of a self portrait-loving bunch. My dear fellow muses kindly let me trawl through their Flickr archives to pull out a few of my favourites.
If heading down to your nearest industrial park wearing a huge tutu seems a bit more of an adventure than you’re ready for, self-portrait-wise, why not start by just including a piece of yourself in the frame, as Jenny has here.
Or try out something new, like Cara does here. Self portraits are a great way to explore an alter ego.
Or if a tutu and a loading dock are just too tame for you, you could always try levitating as Christy does here.
You could show off your cheeky, fun side as Holly has here.
Or show your vulnerable, raw side as Meghan does here.
So are you a self portrait convert or a sceptic? If you’re a convert I encourage you to share your photos in the comments. If you’re a sceptic, I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and step in front of the camera. See if it doesn’t change your perspective.
September’s theme here at Mortal Muses is New Perspective. Won’t you join us?
Debra ~ Manifeisty