Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A dreaded word to me: Selfies

This hasn't always been the case.  But, as with everything now, the word gets overused and abused.
Then, it starts making news.  Actual news, people.  This is what gets me.
With everything that the media could possibly cover and think is newsworthy, selfies everyone is posting on social media is the top topic.   Really?

The word annoys me.  I take self portraits of myself.  I use this form of photography to explore
myself and my art.  Self portraits can be some of the most artistic pieces of work photographers do.
Then, you have the "selfies" people are posting of themselves every day on social media networks.  I get why it annoys people.  It seems narcissistic.  It seems like they have a high opinion of themselves...and maybe they do. But for some people, self portraits are a way of exploring, a way of healing, and a way of  getting art done that makes you feel something.

It is, of course, a way of documenting your life. 

No, self portraiture is no new thing.  

Take very well-known photographer, Vivian Maier.  Her work is loved by so many.  Some of her most compelling work is the self portraits she took.  They are great works of art, and at the same time still keep her mysterious.  People wished they knew more about her as a person and what made her make the art she did.

A few of my favorite Vivian Maier self portraits:

All images courtesy of

She was a street photographer, and took so many photos of people.  But the ones she made time to take
of herself were so great.

Using yourself as the subject is also great for people that don't have the money to spend on models.  Another artist I admire for her self portraiture is Brooke Shaden.  She does more fantasy type photography, but when she doesn't have her model, she uses herself.  Very convenient and she still gets work done.
You can see her work here

I guess there is a difference between a "selfie" and a self-portrait.  I think using yourself as the subject (if you are into photography) is a great way to learn more.  About light, about composition.  The things that you see when you look through the lens become that much harder to accomplish when you are setting your camera on your tripod or turning it on yourself.

This makes me want to do a new project for this year.  A year of self portraits.  I don't really have a number of photos to get.  Not like a photo a day or a photo a week...but I want to work on self portraits and try to learn more about photography in this way.  It's something I touched on in the past, through doing a self portrait challenge, but never stuck to it the whole year.   This will be a great way for me to show how self-portraits can be a way of exploring your art, as opposed to just something you post twenty times a day on social media!!

I have several photography projects I'm working on for this year.  Who knows, maybe I'll share some of this one with you along the way.

Love, Jess

1 comment:

  1. I don't like that word either!! Loving that photo of you!!!