Drawing upon the examples in Part three and your own research, you can approach your self portraits however you see fit.
Keep a diary for a set period of time( at least 2 weeks). Each day write 2 or 3 pages about yourself- what you have been doing/ thinking. This can as specific or poetic as you wish.
I have had a little trouble with time keeping on this assignment as I am over due with handing it in to my tutor, this was kind of out of my control as my hard drive decided to burn out I had lost the work that I had completed for this assignment as usually i back my work up but hadn’t got round to doing it at the time and had lost what I had done so had to re do what I had done.
When first approaching this assignment I felt overwhelmed by the possibilities that could be played out within this genre of self portraits, then i realized we had to keep a diary so this meant that from what i recorded in my diary that would then lead on to which direction this assignment would take me. I didn’t want to keep a diary for too long as I felt this would be quite time consuming so thought Id just start with the 2 weeks and add to it if I needed to. A few days in to my diary keeping I thought Id start on some personal research and use that to help me along my way and to spark inspiration,
My research started off by just browsing self portraiture photographers and then I kind worked my way through on to the era of the 40’s and 50’s which is what really draws me in.
I started off with Claude Cahun, when first looking at her work I thought it was a man as she came across very masculine. Here is a link to my thoughts on her work https://riannameliaphotography.wordpress.com/category/research/photographer-research/.
My nest research post covered a few artists from different eras to different styles. It started off with an unknown photographer Noel S Ozaid, I know that I should really focus my research on more popular and well known photographers but her is really powerful. My research then moved on to Sally Mann an American artist known for her black and white photographs of changing subjects from her children, to landscape to decay, But i focused on her self portrait series that she conducted whilst she was bed ridden from a terrible horse riding accident. I found sally’s work impressive with the use of an old technique of wet plates. Next was Andy Warhol! one of my favorites from my art and design days, this was a really brief look at his work as I had previously covered him and Stephen Shore back in TAOP. Hippolyte Bayard was next and I really enjoyed reading up about his life and how he was shafted by Louis Daguerre
My research then began to shift towards the 1940s- 50s and it started off by looking at Arthur Weegee, I really loved looking at his work and I really enjoyed the double exposures that he had taken of himself this was right up my street which fitted in well with the last assignment. Bunny yeager just had to be on my list I knew of her work before hand as she was the lady who helped Betty page become as big as she was. I love bunnies self portraits as she there was always a playful element to her photographs. I also did some research on Imogen Cunningham too. I thought about researching into Vivian Maier again but have done so twice now and I felt it would get repetitive but I did watch a really good documentary about her which had me glued for the 90 minutes. I found it fascinating as there really isn’t much information on the web about her in depth about her life but this you really get an insight to what she was like.
I struggled with the diary side as I found it hard to write a lot about myself some days I was able to write more than others. In total over 15 days I managed to write 2 double sides A4 sheets of paper along with one side of an A4 sheet of paper. I guess it was not as much writing that was asked for but I felt that I wrote what I was feeling and what I had been up to should felt that this was more than enough into my boring life. After reading through what I had written there were parts of the writing that has sparked some inspiration/ ideas for my series of photographs about me.
In total I had 3 ideas that I had come up with that I could use for this self portrait assignment.
- What makes me, on a day to day basis
This idea came about from a couple of entries into my diary that I had made about how I feel in the morning when I first get up and how I have to put on my make up and dresses to feel more like me, along with two woman talking about me in the shop about my tattoos and piercings.
- My second idea- spawned from a comment that was made to me just after i had finished writing my diary and consisted of a group conversation and this conversation went on to about how i dress and how lovely my dresses where which usually pops up a lot but then it went further to do you act like a 50s housewife? which I don’t but this gave me an idea to act out my everyday life but exaggerate it in the way that people think i live my life.
- My 3rd idea was based on an entry in my diary about johnny cash and my love for him and how much he inspires me. So thought maybe do a Gillian waring style sort of thing by acting out my inspirations in life.
I decided that in the end I would go for the 1st idea as I felt that the other 2 would end up being repetitive to the last assignment and I do not really want that. I wanted to set these out into different sets of images as i felt they worked better that way.
This set is I go about making myself more presentable face wise as I very rarely leave the house with no make up on as I feel really exposed and self conscious. I guess make up is a way of expressing myself too through my mood in the winter I tend to wear a much darker shade of lippy and i usually wear colours to go with the seasons.
This set is exploring a few of the tattoos on my body along with piercings. I have tattoos on my back, arms, leg, feet, fingers and chest I also have my lip pierced in 3 different places along with ear stretchers. I think people judge me very quickly. I got my first lip piercing when i was 15 and my first tattoo at 18. I think people are very quick to judge me which I guess that is what comes with body art I do not feel that my body art is offensive I see it it as an extension to myself. Myself and my husband decided to get matching diamond and flowers tattoos on our fingers as we both don’t like wearing rings so thought would be a more appropriate symbol for our marriage than a ring. I experimented with editing on this set and i felt colour have the effect I was looking for and found black and white to be more visually striking and I also think it fits better as I feel with the black and white it focuses on the tattoos and I feel that is how people look at me they focus on the tattoos and piercings.
This set is how I express myself through clothes and accessories. Its a strange one as If I have a dress on and my hair all in rolls ect I have to have a flower in or i do not feel right everything has be as it should and I feel that without shoes, handbags, flowers and dresses I wouldn’t be able to bright and colorful and feminine and its took me while to figure out who I am and I am starting to feel comfortable in my skin thanks to being able to express myself through these gorgeous clothes.
How did it go?
Well I had my little computer incident as mentioned at the beginning which delayed me by quite a lot but I have tried to catch up as quickly as possible. I feel that this assignment has gone OK, I struggled with picking an idea as I wanted to do a pin up series of an exaggerated perception people have of me but I felt this would be too many pictures of just me and my face and that would have been quite similar to the last assignment so didn’t really want to do that. I wanted to have images of myself but not just all images of me I think this series of sets help show people what I am like and my personality through make up and clothes. I am looking forward to moving on to the next part of context and narrative and I am quite apprehensive as I have looked what the next assignment is and it worries me that have to write about one photo as I really am not good at expresses what i see and feel through words so mixed emotions on that but I guess I shall do my best and that is all I can do.