On Self-Portraits

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011 16

For the past few months, I’ve been working on a self-portrait project. I like to be focusing on a project or overall theme with my photography as it helps me to be regularly shooting as well as working toward something. Choosing self-portraits as a project was certainly a departure (in the most literal sense) from where I typically aim my camera lens, yet that was a primary reason for choosing this theme as I wanted to tackle something new. At the same time, I realize that everything I shoot is a self-portrait project in the figurative sense. The focus of our camera lenses does tell us something about ourselves, no?

I didn’t choose a particular slant or theme for what I wanted to shoot regarding these self-portraits. I just knew I wanted to take photographs of myself engaging in activities I like doing or photos showing aspects of who I am. I didn’t want to adopt a different persona or get involved with make-believe or fantasy set-ups. These photos then represent slices of my life and aspects of who I am and what I’m about.

From the playfulness of Chucks, to the reflections about my life, to the enjoyment of nature. These photographs invite you into my sense of self as well as my perspective and point of view as a photographer. These images give you a sense for my love of getting in close as well as basking in shallow depth of field. Thus, the way I composed each shot and the choices of photographic elements tells another story of who I am.

I also aimed to take photographs that many people could identify with despite the photos being about me or being my self-portraits. My hope was that viewers could see themselves in these images although the viewer isn’t in the frame. This is a critical part of my photography – or it seems to be an emerging one – to take photos that are intimate and personal, yet universal.

This was a challenging project to tackle, and I have a new-found respect for the many photographers I know who engage in 365 self-portrait projects (WOW!). I am grateful I stepped into this project as I learned the courage it takes to do so, as well as the patience and acceptance it requires. I hope you enjoy these images and that you not only see me, but also see parts of yourself reflected in them.

Have you tackled any new challenges lately? Are you a photographer who has taken the leap into self-portraits?

16 Responses

  1. Emily says:

    These are lovely photos — and definitely reflect who you are. The Chucks are my favorite. I can’t imagine how difficult it was to capture these with just a timer and having to guess what they look like. The “outtakes” would be interesting to see as well. Funny but I too am reflecting on my pictures tomorrow at MoB and have a similar take to having my picture taken…. thanks for sharing these!!

  2. Tiffany Hogan says:

    I love these photos Meghan! They strike that perfect balance: you & everyone. Thank you for sharing. As always, I look forward to seeing more.

  3. Mary Leach says:

    Beautiful photos, Meghan. I like the idea of capturing yourself doing the things you do each day. You’ve given me a new perspective to continue working on a self-portrait collection of my own.

    Often the only time I feel like stepping in front of the camera is if I’ve blow dried my hair and and put a little mascara on. These photos are always boring, to me, and haven’t inspired me to continue.

    Thanks for sharing such beautiful images. Your images are absolutely universal…and inspiring.

  4. Rachelle Winkle-Wagner says:

    I love these, Meghan! The last one in particular just completely captivated me. Beautiful, beautiful work — beautiful you in your life.
    -Rachelle

  5. Great shots! I love the some of you with the sunflowers. I am tackling a Couch to 5K program right now. I am NOT a runner, but I’m running so I guess I AM a runner — at least of sorts. It does make you see yourself in a different light. “Making the personal universal” sounds like how I approach writing memoir 🙂

  6. Tanya says:

    Congratulations on completing yet another photography project! They’re all beautiful, but I especially like the golden light that you captured in the last two as it hit the flowers and your hair. You should be especially proud of this project, because not everyone can turn the camera on themselves (this includes me). Do you plan to post the other six?:-)

  7. rebecca says:

    OK, I am NECK DEEP in website stuff over here but popped on FB to get a link and your post was there and I could not NOT click on it! You are so gorgeous and amazing! I will come back to read more, but I had to say this right now. And that hat… Killer! 🙂

  8. Celina says:

    Love all of these. So much beauty!

  9. LOVE this and that hat 🙂 beautiful my dear. xoxo

  10. Rebekka says:

    I love the idea that every photo we take is somewhat of a self portrait. It’s so true! I haven’t taken a proper self-portrait as of yet, but then again, I’m not a proper photographer, so it all works out!

  11. Laura says:

    Beeutiful you! Love you Megs!

  12. Melissa says:

    Your photographs always have such beauty, and so do you. My favorite is the one with you in the blue dress with the flowers. It’s full of so much possibility and it’s one of those photos that makes me believe that life is magical and everything is going to be just fine. Exactly what I need to tell myself as I tackle any number of challenges and adventures these days!

  13. kimber says:

    Amazing shots Meghan! i love the depth… the “intimacy” well achieved… and oddly for some reason i like both of the ones in which shoes appear the best lol… maybe i have a foot fetish…

  14. urban muser says:

    these are all fantastic! i’ve committed to 52 self portraits this year. a challenge!

  15. Kim says:

    I know exactly what you mean about every photo we take being essentially a self-portrait, regardless of the actual subject matter… I have always felt that way about my own photography, and the work of those who inspire me the most.

    When I was in college, though, I tackled a 365. It was grueling, but fun. And not only did I come out of it all proud that I had completed the challenge, but also it taught me a lot on the technical side in the process. Projects are good. I really need to start a new one now that I have more free time!

  16. meredith says:

    yes! i love how you phrase this project. and that bottom photo? you are glowing! i adore that image of you. so so beautiful.

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