Drawing upon the examples in Part Three and your own research, you can approach your self-portraits however you see fit. You may choose to explore your identity or masquerade as someone else, or use empty locations or objects to speak of your experiences. However you choose to approach it, use yourself – directly or indirectly – as subject matter.
(OCA C&N, p89)
The genre of self-portraiture was not something I’d explored prior to part three of the course. As well as the research and exercises recommended in part three, Susan Bright’s book Auto Focus (see here) and her tour of sub-genres in self-portraiture brought the subject to life for me. Bright’s book included the work of Aneta Grzeszykowska, who it is explained, uses self-portraiture as a tool for realising wider ideas, a kind of sketch pad or story-board.
The idea for this assignment came directly from the diary I kept for this part of the course. The diary is included in a separate post (password protected) here, and an analysis of my thoughts on diary is included in the post that details the preparation for the assignment here. Through this work I intend to show a feeling of struggle to maintain a sense of self-identity in the tangible world when spending significant amounts of time represented virtually and as a ‘travelling man’. The work is at once auto-biographical and a masquerade. In the images, I show a sequence of acceptance, denial, and despair.
All images were shot using a Fuji X-T1, with a Fujinon 35mm (efl 53mm) / f1.4 and a home-studio set-up. The backgrounds are composites based on scanned documents and screen-dumps from my computer. Photoshop was used for processing. Details are also in the separate post detailing my preparation.
I enjoyed this exploration of my own emotions through self-portraiture and think that it is a genre I will return to in my personal work.
Against the OCA assessment criteria I conclude:
- Demonstration of technical skills – I effectively used a home-studio set-up to capture the head-shots and demonstrated some new post-production techniques in Photoshop, which I’d been working on during this chapter.
- Quality of outcome – I’m happy that the outcome achieves what I aimed for in the images. I worked through a number of different approaches to arrive at the final processing treatment for the images.
- Demonstration of creativity – I believe I have used a creative approach to illustrating the personal frustrations sometimes experienced of working in a virtual world as a ‘travelling man’.
- Context – I have been active in recording context in my learning log and it is linked from this assignment..
Bright S (2010). Auto Focus – the self-portrait in contemporary photography. London, Thames & Hudson.