Self-portrait: putting yourself in the picture
Intent and approach
By far this has been my most challenging OCA assignment to date. A lot has to do with a lack of confidence in my ability, so it’s easier to delay and drift off somewhere else (literally or in my mind) than tackle the work. It is also very personal, it’s about me and like many, I don’t like my photograph being taken. I want to portray my current inner world (thoughts and emotions) visually. This work represents my frustration, doubts, delaying and daydreaming.
I can describe how I feel, but making the transition from feelings into photographs has proved daunting, I focus and then my mind goes blank – the psychological barriers are raised again. It struck me that this whole dilemma was taking over my life and therefore this is what I should be portraying – how I’m feeling right now!
I wanted to push myself to develop the creativity in my photography work. I hear my tutor’s encouraging words; be bold, take risks, experiment, turn ideas on their heads! I set about shooting images that are confined to home, mostly outside because that is where I do most of my thinking and reflecting. Also the ‘confinement’ represents how I feel about this assignment.
I have utilised the principle of Jason Shulman’s approach (see planning and preparation link below). Shulman condensed entire movies into single photographs by taking long-exposure photographs and flattening them into a single image. I like the idea of compiling images in this creative way. My images have more structure and definition than Shulman’s, but the technique is the similar. I wanted to depict the fogginess in my head, the lack of a clear vision, the barriers I raise. Also metaphors to represent turmoil, undefined plans, no track of time, tangle of thoughts. My intention is to outwardly express the emotions I feel internally.
See here for more detail of my approach and rationale A3 Planning and preparation
Below are my chosen images for assessment.
What lives in pictures is very difficult to define…it finally becomes a thing beyond the thing portrayed…some sort of section of the soul of an artist that gets detached and comes out to one from the picture…. Francis Bruguiere (1)
Technical and Visual Skills – My images may appear to have been manipulated with a post-processing application, but this couldn’t be further from the truth, this was not straightforward for me. I feel I have stretched myself technically, mostly through experimentation rather than turning to text-book knowledge. The process of achieving the end result was time consuming and tense to say the least. As you will see from my learning log planning and preparation posts, I trialed several versions before selecting one which satisfied me aesthetically, as well as conveying the emotions as intended.
Quality of Outcome – The outcome I think appears simple, but I hope others appreciate the technique involved and how I arrived at the end result. The images are ambiguous to reflect my own vagueness and uncertainty, hopefully the reader will appreciate this. I was also concerned about how many images to submit – the brief leaves it open. Self portrait implies a single image, but I feel in this instance that the narrative is enhanced by additional images
Demonstration of Creativity – I feel that I have taken a creative leap with this assignment – in the process leading up to the finished images and with the images themselves. How will others read the images? I’m not sure, but I hope they create the impact I have conveyed. One thing I still need to grasp is how to pin a subject down and not allow too many ideas and thoughts to cloud my creativity and final decision making. I do wonder whether I could have been more creative with the finish, rather than just present my images on my blog. For formal assessment I want to consider options e.g. prints, use of text or different ways of presenting the work.
Context – I believe I have contextualised the work effectively by keeping in mind the research projects and exercises and implementing some of these ways into my assignment. I also sought other photographers work for inspiration and once I had my idea I looked again at the work of others to guide me. I also read Angela Kelly’s essay on Self Image (1).
Perhaps I could have researched even more photographers outside of the limitations of the exercises, I did look at some in relation to my assignment, but as always time had a hold on me! As the images evolved it was clear to me that my research of other photographers had inspired the finished work.
1.Wells, L. (Ed:) (2009). The Photography Reader. Routledge, London. Pages 410-416 (Essay: Angela Kelly. Self Image, Personal is political.)
Bruguiere, F. Photographers on Photography (ed. N Lyons). As above P411.