Sunday, September 27, 2015

LEARNING TO SEE - again. Part 3

Self portraits have been around for a while. The first photographers were not backward in coming foreword with their own images, permanently and indelibly etched in the new technology.

This was and is nothing new. Artists have been doing it for hundreds of years. Rembrandt certainly did his fair share, having painted over 60 individual portraits of his face.

The significance of a self portrait for the artist and the viewer is unique. As does a moving picture, the sequence shows growth in two ways: that of the artist as a person, a form, an ageing human, and  of the skills he possesses.

Self-portrait 2012


Today we see the proliferation of the Selfie, an Australian term used to describe the quick snap taken mostly by smart phones or point and press cameras, of the camera holder and quickly sent to their friends and relatives for a quick 'like'.

Mother and daughter selfie 2014


Selfies are distinct from portraits in many ways. They have two main purposes: to indicate the status  and  the location of the photographer.
Status seems paramount in the new world. Status can be stated in many forms. What we wear, who we are with, where we are located, how good we look, how foolishly we are behaving, how deviant we wish to be, how game we are all fall into the possibilities of displaying ourselves in an appropriate or inappropriate way to the world.

Nevertheless, Selfies are as important as the new language or the new style. They separate us from the last fad-ridden generation who's bad taste is now replaced with equally or even superlative bad taste. No generation has been without their wantonness to display themselves is a way that distinguishes them from the rest.

The idea of the Selfie may perish in the same manner as the Mullet, paisley and wings on cars but the self- portrait will continue to be used by the photographer for their own reasons.

Heather and friends. Whenever!


Finding a suitable subject for practice can be difficult at the spur of the moment. Not so if you are willing to step in front of the lights and allow the lens to swallow your pride.

Self-portrait 2010


Filling a gap and providing a human element might rely on a passer by. Timing and cooperation are not always that forthcoming. Placing oneself into the scene gives familiarity and personality to the domesticity of the image.

Self-portrait 2013


Capturing a shadow or a reflection is often ignored or avoided by the person with the camera, yet the presence of the form can remind the photographer that they re just as important a part of the real world as any other bystander. They are also vulnerable and open to the marauding lens.

Self-portrait 2015


Photographers have explored the concept of self-portrait as a means of expression. Such photographs are conceptual and often powerful statement on how the photographer sees himself as a part of the whole or independent from the rest.

Self-portrait 2015


Few photographers succeed in completing the philosophical analysis of what they do. The self-portrait can play an important part in developing skills, monitoring growth and reflecting on why it is they do what they do.

We can only propose what a photographer sees when they view themselves in such a way.

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