Prep Task – The Self Portrait

“Pre-visualise and produce a self portrait using only available light, unrestricted in theme and technique yet still supplying a message to the viewer. You should spend time first understanding what it is you wish to convey before then looking at the composition and mechanics of the image and finally production”

A self portrait… This made me nervous, but it also had me a little stumped because I found it difficult to think of something I wanted to convey within my image.
Portraits and self portraits are usually a form of identity, whether it is to show your physical appearance or illustrate something that is part of your identity perhaps a hobby, trait, personality or outlook.
I started to think about portraying how I hate being in front of the camera and that I do not have as much self confidence as i would like to but I decided that probably is quite a common route to follow.
I decided to concentrate more on my identity within the world, I feel that myself as an individual changes a lot, whether this is to conform to social conventions or whether i’m being subconsciously influenced by things and people around me, what parts of me are original?  similarly to how Michiel Spijker’s ‘Nothing of me is original’ questions how much of us is original and has the rest been influenced by other things and people.
I think of my identity as a fuzzy haze surrounding me, fragile, manipulatable, opaque, no defined edges.
I suppose other people when thinking of my identity see more of a complete picture depending on who they are to me, but I think its difficult to picture you’re own identity. I think its rare to know exactly who you are and to know your place in the world.

For the technique of the image I decided to illustrate this ‘haze’ with a process I’ve used before. I shot a polaroid of myself on colour film and then removed the white frame. This leaves marks in the emulsion, I added water with a paint brush to remove a space for my ‘identity’ this left a clear area that i felt suitable for my concept. I scanned the Polaroid in as transparency film (light from both sides) which highlighted these areas better.



Within the images there is a sense of ambiguity which I suppose is how I feel about myself.
The colours darkened after scanning it in as positive film, its strange how it looks like a painting now that the colours have deepened and gone a little green. the light haziness around my face hides my identity from viewers maybe even putting them in the same position as I’m in.
I have also included the image when it was scanned as a document, I’m not sure which I prefer but this one looks a lot clearer with black marks on the face (scanned against black card). I’m a little disappointed that they look like I’ve added loads of filters and the marks on using photoshop which isn’t the case at all, perhaps the first one is a bit too much, either way I think they represent how I see my identity well.



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