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 a professional contact of mine, Margaret Vincent (aka. M_FIVE) whose self-portraiture dives into introspection to get across her message. An attorney by day, Margaret explores her creative side through photographing her world and her place within it during the spaces outside her day job. I hope you are as intrigued by Margaret’s playful, in-depth look at herself as much as I am.
1. How long have you been taking self-portraits and what draws you to use yourself as the subject so often?
I started taking self-portraits about six years ago following a very painful transition in my life. I became fascinated with seeing how I looked to other people as I tried to figure out who I was again. I started photographing myself in the mirror, but one day I turned the camera around, and it was as if a light went off. I started a 365 project soon after, and the rest is history. At the beginning the draw of shooting myself was being able to see myself in new and different ways. As my work progressed, it became more about working through emotions and documenting myself—I’ve been shooting a self-portrait on my birthday for the last five years, and I love being able to look back and see the growth in both my face and my photos.
2. You pull a lot of emotion into your self-portraits. Is this intentional? Do you shoot in “that mood” or are you trying to act out a specific emotion while shooting?
In my earlier self-portraits, the emotion is all real. I was struggling, and self-portraiture became somewhere to work through emotion. I have a number of portraits where I’m actually crying, and some of my best periods of work have come after breakups or personal failings. I spent a lot of time in dark, moody places back then. As I’ve gotten healthier and happier over the years, the emotion I show is more acting than feeling, though I still tend toward moodiness, even when acting. When I’m shooting self-portraits, I need to find some level of intimacy with my camera—it sounds ridiculous, but finding that quiet, confident place allows me to be authentic in front of the lens and access emotion I couldn’t otherwise.
3. What inspires you? Your urban surroundings are often showcased in your self-portraiture. How does your personal inspiration and your location play out in your work?
I’m very inspired by space and its ability to transform—I love mixing beauty with grit or putting something fantastical in the middle of the concrete jungle. My self-portrait photography began soon after I’d moved from the suburbs of Detroit to downtown Chicago, and being a city girl (finally) was a huge inspiration. I’m not afraid of being seen taking self-portraits, which comes in handy. I’ve been incredibly lucky to return to Detroit a number of times for urbex adventures, and those spaces are otherworldly and beyond inspiring. I’ve joked that I could easily lump many of my self-portraits into the category “Margaret standing somewhere,” but I’ve loved every spot I’ve found.
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Margaret, I am excited that I get to introduce your work with our readers today and hopefully you’ll inspire them with your images and words to get out their with their cameras and explore themselves and their environments like you! And now it’s my turn to share three of my favorites from your gallery of amazing self-portraits. Since I’m a huge fan of your work, narrowing it down to three was so difficult!
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Margaret Vincent is a self-portrait artist who takes photos in Chicago, Detroit, Ann Arbor, and elsewhere. To see more of Margaret’s work, you can check out her portfolio or see more of her professional work on Stocksy United.
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If you would like to be considered for a “3 of Me” feature, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us here.
Until next time!