Sunday, January 5, 2014

Self-portrait Sunday's

The self-portrait is a time honoured tradition in photography. From Hippolyte Bayard's "Self Portrait as a Deadman" to Cindy Sherman's "Untitled Film Stills" photographers have trained their lenses on themselves to tell stories and create fantastical scenes.  While challenging to create when they are well done they can be works of art.

The advent of digital photography has made it easier to create the self-portrait as one can now see the results of one's set up immediately to make adjustments in pose, lighting and set-up.  We can also easily incorporate multiple elements to create strange new worlds or fantasies.  Working with our self as the subject we have total control of the project.

However digital and smart phone's with cameras have tainted this form of expression as the "Selfie" has become common place with people taking snaps of themselves in all types of situations.  While I have no problem with capturing a moment and people turning the camera on themselves, I do have a problem with it when the images are less than inspired.  On many of the photo sharing sites I see people who have nothing but selfies in their feeds and most have a similar look thus making them nothing more then fluff.

Now there are still some photographers who have embraced the self-portrait as a means of expression and share them through social media.  Artists like Brooke Shaden and Lori Andrews have come up with themes and topics that resonate with viewers and they have developed a large following.  Both are imaginative and create wonderful photographs.  However I commented to one of them that it is easy to create a stir in the photo world when you are a young, attractive female.  Would it be the same with an average looking, middle age male.

So in addition to my photo-a-day project I plan to use Sunday's photo to create my own self-portrait.  Today I started simple using light as my main tool in trying to create a dramatic look.  I plan to use the week before each Sunday to come up with a theme and then gather what I need in order to take the photo's on Sunday afternoon's.  It is my hope that as I progress along that I will unleash some of that creativity and imagination  that I may have been missing the last while.

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