Self Portrait

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There must be billions of self-portraits or as it has horribly been shortened to ‘Selfies’, since cameras were added to phones. The self-portrait for artists was once a very special thing, often the only work which really explored the artists’ interior life. Look at how Durer showed what a brilliant technician as well as artist he was and having the ‘balls’ to paint himself in Christ-like poses. Then look at the lifelong self-portraits of Edvard Munch, painting deep into his old age a lost man wandering his flat in the night. Most photographers have at some time taken a self-portrait, the ones in the mirror are the most interesting to anyone interested in cameras as we see their work tool.

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Now I am not claiming for even one second that these self-portraits I took yesterday have any artistic or value other than showing my self on a specific day. I took them after moving a mirror from one wall to another. It’s an old mirror that I grew up with, I think from the 1920’s-30’s, of no value. What I’ve always liked is the pattern in it and the way it catches the light, it also reminded me of the cross pattern I have in my camera, which helps with composition. The way those lines crossed the face interested me, so I took these in this square format on a sunny Saturday.

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Why do we do these? To capture ourselves at a specific time; to show ‘I am there; because no-one else wants to photograph me; to make our friends laugh. It’s an interesting phenomena. My friend Tony Jones has a ‘board’ on his Pinterest site dedicated to photographic self-portraits well worth a look (http://www.pinterest.com/toneblueshawk/self-portraits/) and whilst there look at his work he is doing in joint self-portraits with his partner, looking at their life together (http://www.pinterest.com/toneblueshawk/work-rest-play-joint-self-portraits/).

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