I’ve been slacking a bit with my self portrait photography this year, other things seem to have taken over and have left with me little time to create. That’s about to change. I’ve got a head full of weird and wonderful ideas that I can’t wait to get to work on over the quieter Winter months. Before I crack on with that, I thought I’d share some thoughts about self portrait photography, along with some of my favourite images so far.
I’ve never really been one for taking phone selfies, and I didn’t feel particularly comfortable person in front of a camera. It feels weird having a camera pointing at you (sorry about that!) and can make your face behave in a way that feels very unnatural. Your brain often kicks in with little voices of uncertainty about practically everything; what do I do with my hands? Do I look at the camera? Why is my mouth behaving SO weirdly? I’m always in awe of anyone who can step in front of a camera and look natural immediately. Things changed for me in 2017 after listening to an incredible presentation from Jennifer Moher at Snap Photography Festival. She talked about a project she set for herself, to take a self portrait every day for a year. She talked about how it changed her view of having her photograph taken, particularly through darker moments in her life. I made a little mental note to myself afterwards that I would give it a try at some point. At the time I was living in my little flat in Manchester, which had huge windows that filled the place with brilliant light at certain points of the day. If you know me, you will know that I get quite excited by good light. I generally always want someone to step into it so I can take their photograph. So that’s where it began. Fairly basic images with lots of mistakes, I have some hilarious outtakes but maybe that’s a blog post for a later date. From there I set little goals for myself; go outside, use film, use artificial light, just little things really. I found it a great creative outlet and also a good confidence builder. I surprised myself with how quickly I became used to the camera pointing at me and how much I actually enjoyed it, I never thought that would happen.
Below is a small selection of the things I’ve done so far, I’m really looking forward to what 2020 brings. If you want to see how that goes, head over to my portrait Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/emledportraits/