Happy Friday! This post was originally published over at Le Blahg a couple of weeks ago and I wanted to share it here too in case you missed it over there. It's the first of a two-part series on taking self-portraits. Part Deux is a how-to of sorts and it's coming next week but you can find it over at Le Blahg too! I hope you all have a fabulous weekend! Are you doing anything fun?
Come to Me - Bjork
Ciao, Blahg Readers! I'm Monica, aka Chessa!, from Ciao, Chessa!! I am so honored and excited that Miss B asked me to write a guest post on Le Blahg. I am a street and travel photographer based out of New York City. While the focus of my work is lifestyle imagery and portraiture occasionally, I turn the camera on myself. I am genuinely interested in learning about other people and I think that a simple gesture, hint of smile or smirk or a look in the eye can reveal volumes about a person. So, sometimes I turn my lens on myself to try to learn more about the people I've captured on the street. In the meantime, I find that I'm learning a lot about myself and I'm inventing my own new characters with each image.
I've often read articles brandishing self-portrait artists as narcissists - completely self-centered individuals who feel they have nothing better to do than take photos of themselves because you know, why wouldn't that be interesting? But...I truly believe that it is so much more than that. History shows us that artists have used self-portraiture as a tool for exploring concepts, techniques, self-expression and discovery in a number of different mediums. Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Frida Kahlo all painted self-portraits. Cindy Sherman uses a camera for hers. Even Ansel Adams who is known the world-over for his moving and evocative landscape photography took his own picture. But, notwithstanding all of this history female self-portrait artists, are repeatedly viewed as narcissistic and self-indulgent today and their art is discounted because it contains their own form.
One of the most concise reviews about female self-portraiture is from
Cindy Sherman website: "By turning the camera on herself, Cindy Sherman has built a name as one of the most respected photographers of the late twentieth century. Although, the majority of her photographs are pictures of her, however, these photographs are most definitely not self-portraits. Rather, Sherman uses herself as a vehicle for commentary on a variety of issues of the modern world: the role of the woman, the role of the artist and many more. It is through these ambiguous and eclectic photographs that Sherman has developed a distinct signature style. Through a number of different series of works, Sherman has raised challenging and important questions about the role and representation of women in society, the media and the nature of the creation of art."
One of my favorite places to explore themes in self-portraiture is the
Female Self-Portrait Artists' Support Group on Flickr. There is so much creativity in this incredible Flickr group - the group, made up of tremendously talented women from around the world is one of the places that I turn to for inspiration and motivation in my work. You should definitely check it out!
This is the first of two posts discussing self-portraiture. Stay tuned next week for a "How To" post and a list of some of my favorite self-portrait artists. In the meantime, if you'd like to see some more selfies from me...visit me
Thanks for reading! See you soon!
PS--I'd love to read your comments and questions about photography, self-portraits or anything you'd like to discuss:) You can leave comments here on Le Blahg or visit me at Ciao, Chessa! :)
*The title for this post is borrowed from the book published by The
Female Self-Portrait Artists' Support Group. I'll provide a link to this volume, as well as the second volume that I participated in next time...
Thanks, again, Tristan!