How little did I know about the wonderful world of self-portraiture when I took the first photos of myself.
A few years ago when I jumped into the world of professional photographers there was one part of photography I didn't understand: self-portraiture. I looked at artists taking photos of themselves with confusion.
Then COVID hit the world in 2020 and we found ourselves in a lockdown. Being stuck at home really pushed my creativity to the edge and made me come up with photography ideas that are doable within 4 walls.
The Phlock Community stepped up, got together and female artists from all over the world started to share their work. Laura and Sarah, founders of Phlock Live, organised online classes which were lifesavers during those nerve-wracking times. Those classes inspired us to slow down, look around in our close environment (not that we had too many other options), find beauty in everyday life, and create.
One of those classes was LeAnna Azzolini's class about self-portraiture and I thought I would give it a try. I watched her story and creative process and I cried. The tears were coming up from a very deep place I didn't even know existed. Then I thought 'Wait a minute! If only watching someone talking about self-portraiture makes me so emotional where could taking self-portraits lead me?"
My curiosity led me to create a little set-up in our bedroom and to take my very first self-portraits. I put my mum's old hair rolls into my hair and started to take them out one by one while taking the photos. As I took out more and more rolls I felt like getting off my own layers. I started to feel lighter, deliberated and free. By the time my hair was freed from the rolls my soul was freed from a kind of pressure. I don't know how it happened. Something magical happened in the small little space between my camera and myself and I knew I need this kind of magic in my life. I didn't want to let it go. Ever. This magic knocked on my door, I let it into my life and I wanted it to stay forever. I knew that the only way to make it stay with me was by creating more self-portraits.
And I did and never looked back.
Creating self-portraits today has many different reasons:
- to leave proof of my existence behind
- to reflect on my mood, on the world, or on what is happening around us
- to come back to a process I truly enjoy without being too worried about the outcome
- to let the steam out and clear the mess in my head in an open field where there is only nature and me
There is something important you need to know: 98% of the images are rubbish and I'm not kidding. Usually, I took around 2-300 images at least and I'm only happy with a handful of them. And it's OK. It's about either the process or that single image I want.
It has never been about sharing those images. I share about one-third of the photos I take because they feel like a piece of me. They are very precious. They are a process, a transformation, a feeling or an idea. They have been taken with no intention of sharing - although some of them have a proud place on my Instagram feed - and are now here.
Some of them were taken with my phone and edited quickly with the Lightroom mobile app. Some of them are well-planned. Some of them were born out of an idea of the present moment. Some of them are just a photo of myself in the mirror. Or my shadow on the ground.
Use these images as an inspiration for your own photos. Take from them what you need for your own creative process.
If you wish to discuss self-portraiture further or you have any questions please never be shy to message me. I dedicated this post to inspiring and helping you and encouraging you to start taking your own self-portraits. Just for the sake of the magical process. I want to hear from you.
Lots of love,
- Viki xxx