Does This Look Like Me?


“Cafe Stroll”

“.All photographs are selfportraits.”

– Minor White

I’ve never done a literal self-portrait – but considering the idea presented by Minor White, I guess I’ve done nothing but.

No matter what you photograph, how you photograph it, or what style you finish it in, you are turning that work into a form of self-expression. It is not a selfportrait in the literal sense but in the sense of stating what you like and don’t like, how you feel about things, what you take on them is. Of course, that is also there in a literal self-portrait – plus you get the added bonus of seeing the physical you. Maybe I’ll try one of these soon…

What has your experience been of selfportraiture? Do you think you other work reveals something about you that would not be possible in a real selfportrait? Is there some dimension tapped through the indirectness of the subject that would not be available if you were the subject?

Is it possible to make art that is not self expression, not a selfportrait of some form? Perhaps that’s what makes it art  – the degree to which you have allowed the picture to say something about yourself.

4 responses to “Does This Look Like Me?

  1. Yes, all art is self portraiture, but when you do it “on purpose” you can’t help but look at some of the unexamined aspects of yourself that have been left unexamined for a reason. . .a good thing to do. . .I guess. . .but you have to be ready for it.

  2. A great post, Bob, photo and text. Great questions there… well, you are always so good at asking this kind of questions!!!

    I suppose, in the sense you describe it, all photos, paintings and more generally pieces of art are some kind of self-portrait. It already starts, in fact, with the subject one chooses to feature.

    2 days ago I had a discussion with Kevin, about “the degree to which you have allowed the picture to say something about yourself”. I was calling this degree “honesty in art”. I was telling him that Susan’s paintings, in this sense, are extremely “honest” (we were just looking at her shark and dolphins piece….). And that my paintings are far not so honest. He agreed with me. But it is not a conscious act from me.
    i am not trying to express myself, or to hide myself. Perhaps I do, and my art is honest, but I am not conscious of it. Although i really believe that my art is not so much a self portrait, like Susan’s one, for example. The reason being, i believe, that art does not touch me as deeply as it touches Susan. It is not such a deep part of me. My sister in law, in Paris, is a painter too, like Susan, a VERY HONEST one, one of the very few I have met in y life. And I do know (we were very often painting together in the nature) how different we are, how differently we paint, how different the personal engagement is when we do it.

    I think my art is only the self expression of what I love, and how I love it. But perhaps is that the only important thing which defines our identity” ? I suppose not…

  3. Hi Bob, well, I don’t know about the self-portrait or not, as all I do is birds, and I’m not sure I’m that bird-like these days, more whale-like.. But, your blog and thoughts have inspired me.. I’ve been wondering what to do with all my little feathered friends, and maybe they need to have a blog of their own… I”ll keep you posted, I may just dive in! Thanks for the inspiration, and keep up those great self-portraits 🙂

  4. Miki – I guess we all do try to control “the degree to which we allow the picture to say something about ourself” as you say. I’m not sure that is honesty or pure exhibitionism! I truly love your comments – THEY are always honest!

    Laura – I think the blog world would love the birds. Of course, then you’ll have to also join Twitter (pun intended).

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