DISCUSSION: The selfie! In context of the previously discussed topics, we will discuss how the self-portrait functions as a portrait, a likeness, a performance, and a lie. Instructor presentation on self portraiture in art history, and contemporary forms of the self-portrait. How is a self portrait unlike or like a “selfie”?
STUDIO: Short instructor presentation on sequencing and editing photographs for a final portfolio. Students can use this time to edit photographs, ask questions, work on portfolio, etc.
ASSIGNMENT: Students will make 3 self portraits of themselves. Prepare a portfolio of final images to show for the last class. Email instructor images for printing.
"Traditionally, the portrait is typified by the notion that people can be represented by showing aspects of their 'character'. We understand the portrait differently. Instead of fixity, to us it represents a range of possibilities which can be brought into play at will, examined, questioned, accepted, transformed, discarded. Drawing on techniques learned from co-counselling, psycho-drama and the reframing technique we began to work together to give ourselves and each other permission to display 'new' visual selves to the camera."
Rosy Martin and Jo Spence
Elisavet Kalpaxi, “Self-portraiture: on photography’s reflexive surface”
Self-portraiture and its connotations are frequently employed in recent art photography, especially images that are obviously constructed to suggest a narrative and comment on earlier traditions in art. However, such self-conscious works seem to relate to a tradition of photographic self-portraiture that emerged historically, more as a solution to photography’s ‘authority consciousness’ than as an indication of any underlying psychological causes. Early photographers, such as Hippolyte Bayard and Oscar Gustave Rejlander, used self-portraiture to prove that their images were ‘made’ and not ‘captured’. Accordingly, recent self-portrait artists, such as Anna Gaskell or Anthony Goicolea, continue a legacy of ‘image-making’ and communicate with art audiences through an established vocabulary.
This distinction between unpremeditated and constructed responses to photographic self-portraiture is further amplified through the growing culture of the selfie, with camera phone photography now occupying a space equivalent to what was previously perceived as a more indexically loaded, amateur response to photography that became popular in art from the late seventies onward.
How is a self portrait unlike or like a “selfie”?
What is a self portrait? How can the self be best represented?
How does the self-portrait functions as a portrait, a likeness, a performance, or a lie?