Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The art of the self portrait.

I know I've discussed this before but I have new thoughts.

I have a serious and long standing interest in the art of the self portrait.

I think a lot of this has to do with issues I've had over the years with my own appearance and my endless fascination with the varying ways and things one can show the world with a self portrait. Also with having a visual representation of my habitual naval gazing as well.

And not a little vanity of course.

I've been slowly taking some self portraits and I have two that I am supremely proud of because I just like them visually.

I will show them at the bottom.

I'm also highly interested in visibility. Being visible to myself. If nobody else appreciates said photos that's fine, what's important is giving myself a chance to outwardly show some things I feel inside.

I realize that there is a political implication and aspect to some of the things I want to do and quite frankly I don't care. This is a new realization.

I don't care what my slow going project does or doesn't do for fat folks, black folks, queer folks or whomever and that's a little hard for me.

That's hard for me to say because I -want- to care about making an impact for (insert people here) everywhere but this isn't for you all it's for me.

What I'm having the most trouble is technical currently.

I don't have great light sources for what I am aiming to do and I am not yet a good enough photographer to work with it. Most of my lighting successes have been entirely accidental and I don't know how to replicate them.

I will show you folks some examples of self portraiture I really like. And here is my question for you folks, how does one go about creating and figuring these things out? Do I just start shooting and work it out as I go along?

Aside from really loving her writing I love a lot of the self portraits Violet Blue takes of herself. NSFW mostly dudes.

I also love wooferSTL a lot. Some NSFW. A lot of his photos make me want to get to know him, have a cuddle. Have some beers and share a plate of food.

I also love a lot of the pictures in this Taking Pictures of Myself group on Flickr as well.

I'm thinking part of my problem with doing this thing is some low level fear. I'm afraid my pictures will be crap, that I won't be able to express what I want to.

I'm not so much afraid of being seen. Which is a nice feeling.

So help me out. Should I just work with what I've got until I can get my crafting/photo area (when not shooting outside which I have yet to master) done?

Do I put on my big girl panties and manly hard hat and get to work?

So, all that said here are some of the self portraits I'm most proud of.


Click for the bigger image. I like this picture because even though it's fairly simple, just my eyeball yanno, there are things to look at. The eyelash on my cheek, the things reflected on my eye, my freckles and birthmarks (of which I have plenty on my face).

And this one, which you'll recognize from my header.


Naked skin, my head is tilted with my eyes closed. That photo says a lot about how I spend some time of my life. Quiet. Thinking. Trying to see inwardly.

All this might be psuedo artistic blabbering but it is how I feel.

That picture makes me happy even though it's fairly somber.

There was a time when I would have slit your throat if you tried to take my picture without me having my hair did and make up on. And there was no fucking way I'd have let someone take one that close up.

So these are a start I think.

I'd like to move into more body oriented things, more costume and tom foolery.

Okay that's all.

I had a big Fatshionista related post planned but I just don't feel like it. I've been trying to reframe what I have to say and it's just not happening and I don't know if it would be productive to share my opinions right now.

At this point I think I might just lurk there for awhile until I figure out what it is that I'm feeling exactly.

Or I might spew it all out here.

Either way it's nothing personal, it's just a thing that I need to process in order to get out of my brain in a way that's not dickish.

And in more exciting news, I finished my screenplay. I WON FUCKING SCRIPT FRENZY.

My after impressions are here on my el jay. Feel free to comment even if you don't has the El Jay.

Now if you folks will excuse me, I need to do some naval gazing and writing about said naval gazing.

Homo Out.


Weightless One said...

I think self portraits are great and help you to really understand how you actually look. I studied photography for years under an amazing mentor and for one entire semester of a class called Creative Photography, all we did was self portraits. Lighting is a tough subject and it really just takes practice. It's much harder to learn to light yourself unless you're using a large mirror. I'd suggest starting to pay attention to the way light affects objects and their angles in your everyday. And, of course, I'm happy to provide constructive criticism on your flickr if you're really looking to improve. We're already friended on flickr--I'm Haylstorm's Head

I like your images...I really like the shadow created around your eyelid in the second image.

Anonymous said...

I saw these images before, because I'm nosy and I looked through your Flickr :)

You are lovely.

I think self-portraits are fascinating, and I've been thinking about them lately in the context of visibility (like what Marianne wrote about recently.)

I'd really like to do, and display, more portraits of myself, but there is this one thing really stopping me: I'm afraid of being accused of being vain.

I have this dread of vanity, of being vain. I don't know what this is all about, especially since I actually don't have the greatest confidence in my looks. Yes, I like to see a flattering picture of myself, bur realistically, I don't think of myself as all that great-looking. So where on earth does this fear come from?

I think it has something to do with the culture that simultaneously demands that women be aesthetically pleasing, but also punishes them (by calling them vain or shallow) for daring to take any pleasure in it themselves. Instead, we're just supposed to be pretty for the sake of OTHERS, and to be totally unaware of it.

Or else I'm just crazy. You decide.

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