Self Image

Self Image

One area that most photographers shy away from is self portraiture. well typically being photographed in general, try to take their image and you may get a remark like ‘Thats why I’m a photographer to be behind the camera and not in front’…
We are a strange breed.

With myself I have had a mixed relationship to being photographed, mainly I display traits of being an exhibitionist and a poser for the camera; albeit someone taking my portrait or my own endeavours I’m typically game, most that know me can testify to my various dress-ups and Rocky Horror Basque, kilt wearing fun over the years.

However I am concerned about my increasing awareness of the self-image and how I perceive my outward appearance, more so these last few years. I have gone through a dramatic body change where I have lost just over 9 Stone and 12-14inches around my waist. To most this is good news however certain side effects of large weight loss are evident through unsightly areas of baggy skin. Note that I used the term ‘unsightly’ and how I impose negativity to my body.

This image was shot over a year ago when I was about halfway through my weight loss/health improvement mission. I have always been proud of my masculinity and strived to show certain traits of male strength through my self portraits. With this image I was focusing on my beard and hairy chest, as facial hair is associated with strength and power I wanted to explore this. Initially I had no perceived idea on the final image, only that I wanted a torso shot which displayed the colours of my beard and hinted towards a certain fragility with my body/eye language.


It has been remarked a few times from my peers that this image draws inspiration from Caravaggio. I like this comment and find it apt as part of my research led me to look at Caravaggio’s ‘Narcissus’ 1597…


With all projects there needs to be some focus or goal, with this in mind the call for entries has ben announced for the Taylor Wessing NPG Photographic Portrait Prize 2012, I will explore the self again for this and look at a piece that perhaps explores my relationship with my new body image. Watch this space…

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