NEW UNIT: THE FIGURE AND PHOTOGRAPH Self-portrait assignment

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Conceptualizing for a self-portrait.

In preparation, I researched a range of self-portraits (through Google image search), which stimulated my imagination and inspired numerous ideas. Additionally, I watched several YouTube videos on creative self-portraits that are easy to execute at home. This is one of many which I found helpful.

Pro Photographer Takes Photos of Himself! | Creative Self Portraits (2020).

I thought about the pointers presented to us during the assignment for self-portrait: Who am I in this? What do I want to bee seen (and not seen)? Colour or black & white? Where is the camera positioned? What am I looking at?

Upon reflecting on these questions, research, and my concepts, I concluded that I aim to create an ‘abstract reality’ (as I call it) self-portrait. Following my idea of glasses filled with water, I settled on jars, as I didn’t want any prints/ labels, which most, if not all, of my glasses, have, jars seemed the better choice. After experimenting with vessels of varying sizes, I decided on three tall ones of the same size, positioned adjacent. My intention was to fill them up with liquids of different colours, but I decided to take a few photographs without and move on to that idea next.

I spent some time doing make-up for the shoot, which I believe is itself quite interesting self-portrait, presented in a series of photos.

I set up the smallest and the most awkward (I couldn’t even get properly behind the camera, ah the joy of narrowboat life) ‘studio’, doing some test shots on my unicorn – Princess, and playing with jar arrangement.

I spent quite a while experimenting in my ‘studio’, using various light placement, positioning myself, jars lit up by lamp creating beautiful yellow lines in reflection, containers filled with coloured water, and a hand submerged in the jar of liquid. The results of this experiment are as follow.

1. Self-portrait in frontal position.

2. Self-portrait in side position.

3. Self-portrait created utilising jars filled with tinted water, also an experiment with hand in the vessel.

I had the idea of jars as a representation of the complexity of my personality. What I want it to be seen, and what are you looking at? Each jar is a part of me, each it’s own individual Ela, they coexist in symbiosis, formulating me for who I am. Sometimes they agree, sometimes they fight, often one will teach the other, like a mother and child relationship. Occasionally they are all one, it happens while dancing or making art, complete within the realms that make me the most content. Sometimes the jar is full of emotions that are neutral, blue or red, they might even mix, creating new colours. Misshaped, distorted as we all are, forever morphing into something else, something better. You are not just looking at, but you are seeing me.

‘Reference List’

‘Pro Photographer Takes Photos of Himself! | Creative Self Portraits’. Ian Hippolyte. (2020) [Online video] https://youtu.be/G6bnfOOYYNA. Available through YouTube. [Accessed 14/01/21].

Published by Elzbieta Skorska

My name is Elzbieta Skorska. I am a second-year photography student degree at MMU.

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