It's never really appealed to me, for a variety of reasons I suppose. Mainly, I don't really like to be the centre of attention. Uploading a ton of picture of myself in various poses? Definitely draws attention, positive or negative. With the exception of this blog, I've never used a profile picture that was taken by myself. The blogs picture, is old. Like, 4 years old. My photography teacher encouraged us to experiment with self portraits but I always felt, awkward and self conscious. Not whilst taking the pictures, but if anybody else saw them. In my brain was this little voice saying "What must they think? What kind of self obsessed person spends ages taking pictures of themselves." And that was pretty much how I thought of it. Odd really, as there were a few people in my photography class that took stunning self portraits, and I never once thought that of them. Funny how the human mind works.
Part of this is due to the fact that a lot of the people I know are camera shy, which admittedly doesn't make practising easier. The rest is due to the fact that I'm unwilling to practice on people if they're going to be disappointed with the results. I guess partially, its also because I prefer shooting other things. So I wonder, would practising on myself help me to hone these skills, make me a better portrait photographer? The answer is probably yes, although I think it'll take a while before I begin to see it as an exercise rather than self indulgence. The fact that I hate being in front of a camera is also of importance, but at least if I put myself through it then I'll be able to sympathise with other camera shy people.
The next problem, is what to do with the images. Is it vain to post pictures of yourself? Does that not come across as being somewhat narcissistic? I suspect it lies entirely on the nature of the image, and the context in which it in being used. Some people accuse fashion bloggers of being narcisstic, from my experience however this doesn't appear to be true. I personally appreciate the inspiration these bloggers provide me with and view it as a form of self-expression. The images I've used in this post are all self portraits, but none of them feel self-centred to me, or artificial.
I also believe that many people who use the word narcissist have a very poor understanding of what it means. Loving yourself, having confidence in yourself and believing in yourself are not traits of narcissism (in my opinion), they are traits of a healthy person with a positive attitude and self image.
This is quite a delicate subject and I'm sure there are people out there that think very differently to how I do. I'm really interested in what you guys think about this, what is your stance on self-portraits?
This is part of Frankly: a new series I'm bringing to the blog where I'll be writing longer articles to explore the way I think about things. If you have any suggestions, or there's anything you'd like to see my thoughts on then please let me know!