Self Portrait


Over the last 10 years or so, the selfie has become one of the most captured images in the world. It is a marker, a statement, a period in time, and a document of how things were. The development of the smartphone has helped to produce this phenomenon as almost every adult in the world today carries a phone on them. 

Before such times photographers have used many different formats to capture their likeness from large format film through to a DSLR. Many self-portraits are made to give the viewer an insight into the internal workings of the practitioner. 

A self-portrait can be drawn, painted, sculptured and, of course, photographed. Many of the great masters painted themselves at one point or another, I do wonder how subjective their efforts were though. 

Vincent van Gogh

Gustave Courbet


Two photographers who regularly produce self portraits

Deana Lawson

Deana Lawson is a 39-year-old photographer who resides in New York. She attended Rhode Island School of Design and attained an MFA in photography, as well as a BFA in photography awarded to her by Pennsylvania State University.

She is driven predominantly by black culture and an interest in individuality. Her approach is very direct and often shoots her subjects in a naked state striking strong poses.  

Sasha O

Sasha O is originally from Ukraine but now based in Belgium. She specialises in portraiture and often produces self-portraits that are colourful and inventive. She is able to transform herself in front of the camera with a mixture of artistic ideas coupled with flamboyant makeup design that shine through.

So dedicated is she to the self-portrait that she recently completed a 365-day challenge where she produced a self-portrait every day for a whole year

My personal self portrait

This is the everyday me. Even though technically inferior I actually prefer this on a personal level over my official self-portrait. This image was captured using my drone while it hovered in front of me. I decided to give it a black and white treatment because I felt that it helped pop me out from the background a little more than the colour incarnation. It would have been beneficial to have been able to change the lens as the attached one is fixed at a focal length of 8.8mm which is ideal for great areal photography but no so much for portraiture. That said, I think this image works well and shows the real me. 

The official self portrait

I have never had a problem with people taking my picture, I always say a photograph (or video) is all we leave behind to prove we were ever here. 

But, taking my own picture and editing it was awful, I never thought of myself as a vain man and was happy to be a working-class bloke. However, when you zoom in on yourself at 100% it is like opening your soul up for all to see, especially as I age.

To help hide the deep wrinkles and lines I used a lot of soft light all over my face, the lighting design was loosely based on the Peter Hurley style. Using two strip boxes to form an apex above my head and then mounted on a stand on its side a 4X4

softbox on the floor to help eliminate some under chin and eye socket shadows. I used a white seamless backdrop with two strobes lighting it with reflectors on them.

I see my self as a bit of a joker and hopefully friendly so wanted a picture that shows I am an approachable, fun person. I think this shows that. 

I am not a fan of having to wear glasses and because I am Long sighted I tend to wear my glasses on the end of my nose. I wanted to include my glasses but wanted them away from my eyes. Doing this again opens me up to the viewer as someone who is approachable. 


Bored Panda. (2018). 365 Day Creative Self Portrait Challenge By Sasha O. [online] Available at: [Accessed 4 Jan. 2018]. (2018).  Available at: [Accessed 4 Jan. 2018].

Lewis Center for the Arts. (2018). Deana Lawson. [online] Available at: [Accessed 4 Jan. 2018]. (2018). Из коллекции «Автопортреты известных женщин фотографов». [online] Available at: [Accessed 4 Jan. 2018].