I started photography with self portraits (actually it began with some abstract shadows and building tops from the balcony, and of course I also photographed Cat who would get curious at the sight of this black shiny DSLR), but since I’ve always been more drawn to people imagery and having a lack of models I just used myself (one could also always use siblings, family, friends and random people on the street).
Self portraiture is an art in itself. It’s a direct reflection on who you are as an artist, and you not only have to grapple with the conceptual imagery you wish to present but also the technical difficulties involved- focus, light fall, composition anyone? Since you’re playing both roles, the majority of time would be spent on running to and fro adjusting all the details. At least I do anyway.
Self Portrait: The Shoot
Since getting my camera back from repairs, I had to try shooting again. Voila, another self portrait (see image above). First is deciding what you want to shoot. It’s the same with any other shoots- the theme and details are important. In this case I was influenced by my outfit of the day- a gothic lolita skirt from ebay, a Cue long sleeved collared shirt, a pair of black and purple knee high stockings and my favourite pair of black suede boots. I wanted a white background for contrast (cleared a section of wall space) and hard lighting and shadows (one light top right). Once there is a setup, it’s some experimentation getting everything else on camera right. Adjust, adjust, adjust until happy.
Then off I go. Trying different poses, different expressions. One good note about using digital is that I can keep experimenting without having to worry too much. I didn’t like the first 100 frames (continuous shooting on bursts of 10), until I started playing with my spectacles. Much better.
Once I get a good selection, it’s off to editing, deleting those that are terrible, bad, not good enough and keeping those that are usable. I did basic corrections, lower the saturation slightly, and resized these to 11×14. I really liked a couple and combined them, thus final product:-
It’s quite interesting to see the variety of ways that photographers present themselves, some even make whole portfolios of self portraits and it does push one to be as creative as they can to do something different and unique each and every time. I’d like to try the 365 days Self Portrait Project one day, so perhaps….one day =)