Welcome to the next installation in our continuing series called 3 of Me,” where we ask one of our favorite self-portrait artists to share 3 of their self-portraits while answering 3 questions. Today I am pleased to introduce you to Dawn Hanna. I fell in love with her work on flickr a couple of years ago and it has provided endless inspiration to me on my self-portrait journey. I just love her use of textures and dreamy scenes, and hope you will find her work as wonderful as I do!

1. How long have you been taking self-portraits and what draws you to use yourself as the subject so often?

Hi Christy!  I am totally honored to be here and want to thank you so much for having me today as a guest.  I began my self portrait project back in 2008 when I discovered a blog that gave monthly assignments to photographers to portray.  The assignments were to interpret concepts or words such as “shine”, or “upside down” or  “portals”.  At first, I interpreted them quite literally until my work began to unfold into something deeper for me and these concepts became a way to take a pulse and look inward to what was going on inside of me.  Kind of contrary to what a self portrait is, since the image is of the outside self, but then the real excitement and challenge became how to interpret these concepts to portray what was going on with me internally ….a vehicle in which to express myself rather than a literal interpretation of my face or body.  Honestly, this was a much more comfortable thing for me to do, because it’s very difficult for me to put a “real” portrait of myself out in the world.  I am much better at risking what I am wrestling with in my inner life than I am showing what I look like.

Dawnself 2

2. What inspires you? Much of your work is dream-like and your use of textures complements your images so beautifully. Tell us a little bit about your creative process and how you come up with your concepts.

The things that inspire me are extremely varied as I think most people would say……the way the light glimmers at something in particular that catches my eye, color, environment…but most importantly for me, how I feel at that particular moment in time when I am shooting.  Sometimes when I feel the most uninspired is the time when I make myself pick up the camera and point it at myself.  I have found that it is the time of greatest catharsis…. things I am unaware of internally come floating right up to the surface and suddenly everything comes together for me.  It’s almost like therapy…..like the therapist’s room, a sacred space is created for being quiet with oneself and letting things float to the top…it’s that way for me with the camera.  It has become a sacred place of discovery for me.


3. Do have any advice for our readers who may be new to the art of self-portraiture?

If you are new to the art of self portraiture and feeling overwhelmed or unsure of yourself, then I hope you will know that this is normal and expected. We have all been there for sure. You will find your space, I promise that….whatever space that might be. If you need some structure like I do to push yourself into a place which to grow from, then join a self portrait group either on flickr or some other photo sharing website. And remember, there are no rules. Well actually, there are rules…..that there are no rules!

Thank you again, Christy for this opportunity and I want to say that your beautiful self portraits have inspired me and continue to inspire me so I thank you for that as well!


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Dawn Hanna is a freelance artist and photographer. Her work has been published in Time magazine, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Artful Blogging and numerous online magazines.  She has exhibited her work in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia and is a member of the Durham Art Guild.  She lives on beautiful Kerr Lake in eastern North Carolina with her soon to be husband and two four legged daughters of the feline and canine varieties, respectively. You can find more of her work on flickr, facebook and instagram.

And now, as is customary  in our 3 of Me posts, it’s my turn to share three of my favorites from our featured artist. Dawn has an amazing collection of work in her flickr stream so I hope  you will go and check her out, but here are a few of my faves…

selfat window


And the third one is actually a video. It’s really short and worth your time (especially if you are a dog lover). I just adore this “video selfie” so I hope you will check it out here.

If you would like to be considered for a “3 of Me” feature, please email us at mortalmuses9@gmail.com or contact us here.

~Christy | Urban Muser