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Self-Portraits, Self-Obsessed?


Sup everyone, I’m taking a class and our first assignment was to take 30 self-portraits…Have a looksie, would ya? Tell me what you think. These were some of my thoughts that I wrote up for the accompanying journal entry for class:

The thing that is always so elusive to me is how to make photos that can accurately and succinctly tell someone about a time, a place, a person, a society, a culture, or a feeling. What is much harder for me than picking up on these things in someone else’s photograph is knowing when or if I’m successfully doing so. I find it difficult to abstract myself from the experience itself and thus I feel I lose the ability to see the image as a snapshot in isolation from the living moment. Therefore it’s often hard for me to assess how objectively strong or interesting my photographs are—whether I’m too quick to defend them or too desensitized to appreciate them.

As I was brainstorming about how to approach this assignment, I was thinking of photographs that portray everyday people in interesting ways. I came to realize that it’s important to make the subject relatable…or unrelatable i.e. something that is stimulating either because you can relate to it, or because you immediately know that you can’t relate to it. I’ve also been increasingly more interested in assigning greater weight to the context within a photograph (i.e. everything besides the subject such as furniture, walls, space, background in general), rather than having the overwhelming focus be the subject itself. This assignment was a productive exercise in negotiating what I think strikes the appropriate balance between the subject and context, and moreover how to even represent context in an intelligible way.
What I’m most excited about is to hear your comments on my photos so that I can grasp a greater sense of what you as strangers are able to pick up from my photos, and see how that compares to my intentions and own self-evaluation.

29 Comments Join the Conversation

  1. I really like the second photo, the last photo, and the iPhone photo where you’re holding the camera. The second photo, I think, shows a connection between yourself and the framed picture of the young girl although idk the connection. I iPhone picture was just dope to me, just because it’s a little on the creative side. The third shot seems like it could be like, involved with/around the subject of concentration if that makes sense. The focus is what made me come to that conclusion because it kind of “forced” me to read the facial expression. Overall, all the pictures here are dope, to me anyway, but those three are just the ones that really got my attention. Also, just out of curiosity, what camera do you use?


    • Thanks for leaving your thoughts! The young girl in the second photograph is me who woulda though! ha! I use a Canon 5D 24-70mm f2.8:)


      • 🙂 I was asking because I wanted to invest in a camera, but I chose to go with the Nikon coolpix. It’s not what I had in mind at first, but I’m satisfied with it. I like the first picture now, too. I didn’t really get it when I saw it before, but yeah, you’re good!

  2. I think it’s interesting that your expression doesn’t change an extreme amount in any of the photos–like you’re an observer. I’m not sure I can pick a favorite. Each one has interesting composition.


    • why thank you, transparentguy! just wondering your opinion–do you think the expression or almost lack there of gives more or less to the photos? something i wonder about when shooting portraits..


  3. The one with the mirror on your door and the picture of you on the stairs are probably my favorite. The trash can photo was cute, haha. But seriously, I was confused as to where your camera was in the mirror shot at first. I really like how you did your best to utilize the spaces around you. I had a similar assignment, but I took a Vivian Maier approach. Everything was direct, whether it was a silhouette or a reflection.

    I definitely see where you’re trying to go in terms of context within a photograph. I think that’s why I personally enjoyed the shot of you on the stairs. It was something relatable. It’s the sight of looking down at someone as they make their way up. Which also brings me to the focus in the photo. I’m not sure if you were trying to purposely blur yourself out or if the thought of constantly refocusing and retaking the photo may have been a bother, haha, but I found it relatable to how I would look down from above a stair case. I’d notice the objects that trail down to the subject or focal point of the photo.

    After looking through your photos again, I think I’d have to say that the last three photos are my favorite now, haha. Sorry about that, but there’s something about those three specifically that interest me. I can pick up the thought there is some specific reason as to why you’ve taken a portrait with those particular surroundings. As for the shots before those three, I can follow up to say that you did take photographs that portray everyday people or you in this case, in an interesting way.

    G’luck with your assignment.

    P.S. sorry this was so long. I do love your photos and I’ve honestly picked up a few things from you that I hope to try out soon.


    • hey! ummm absolutely don’t apologize for it being “long.” i love how thorough you are with your comments–i seriously value them and like getting to know you through them. i’m glad you liked them! (also sorry my reply is so late!) i really did try to make use of the space and photograph places that really showed something about me in what i identify as as being a pretty chaotic person with a lot of “internal clutter” if you will…

      i think the last three are my favorite too..are your vivian maieresque photos up on your blog? i’d love to see them!


      • awesome. glad to know I wasn’t being excessive, haha. and they aren’t up. I used them for an assignment and I try to avoid posting my school work with my personal work. End products are usually very different for some reason. I have posted up my failed attempts for assignments though, haha.

  4. These are so creative! So many different “takes” and ideas, I really enjoyed having a good look at each. You’re a great photographer.


  5. I really love the one in the recycle bin (cute and quirky), staring at the computer (I’ve probably looked like this way too many times), and the last one (a kid under the pressure of a traditional Asian tiger mom)!


  6. Awesome! This is really great, very inspiring. Erm, i feel bad, but maybe if anyone (including you) would check out my blog? it is kind of fashion, advice, photography too, kind of like the blog rookie? that would be awesome. 🙂 i really love love LOVE your blog btw 😀 I’m also trying to raise money so that I can have my website have “.com” at the end so yeah 🙂


  7. The photograph of you on the stairs, is by far my favorite. I love everything about it, I love the depth to it, the monochromatic color scheme, your expression. It tells a great story, I just can’t put my finger on what that story would be, which I love because it gets your imagination going. Great job!


  8. These are so cool! Like colinalbro, I am also especially in love with the photo of you on the stairs!


  9. Love your photos! Soo much meaning! If you were to work with a new revolutionary fashion brand to take a few pictures for their lookbook (covering real women (non-models), would you be interested?


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