Taking a daily self-portrait is a challenge, because you must be disciplined and patient enough to set aside the time to work for a decent result (unless you’re just aiming for a daily “selfie,” which is fun too!) The greatest challenge of the project, for me, was to keep things interesting, since every day the subject was the same. I also wanted to make sure they didn’t all look like self-conscious self-portraits, but that maybe another hand had been involved.
For n.10 on my 100/1000 list, I’ll only be taking weekly photos, but for nearly three years. That comes out to 144 photos. To kick off the project, I present a series of self-portraits taken over the years.
This first set was taken with an Oktomat camera. I used to collect and repair vintage and experimental cameras, and still enjoy playing around with them from time to time. The Oktomat takes eight sequential shots within about 2.5 seconds, and they’re all printed on the same frame.
For this next photo, the (digital) camera was pointed at the mirror in a steamy bathroom. I really enjoy self-portraits that are only barely such- as in, they almost entirely obscure the subject. The profile of my face is on the far right.
Here’s a similar photo, taken almost ten years later.
Another shot in a bathroom with steam. Although it’s probably awful for the electronics, I enjoy shooting in a steamy room. It’s always a better effect than using a solely digital filter, in my opinion. But then again, I will always have a soft spot in my heart for all things analog.
The next photo is another mirror self-portrait.
Here is one of my favorites, in the basement laundry room of the apartment I lived in at the time.
This one may look spontaneous, but it involved an awkward tripod and lighting configuration. I believe one foot of the tripod was in the tub. I’m happy with the lack of focus and especially the shadow on the one long piece of hair.
Next is a shot of me working at a graveyard shift baking job, something I’ve sworn off. I’m too delicate these days for that late-night rough work. This one is a good example of me trying to avoid a self-portrait “look.”
And just for fun, here’s a self-portrait of a different kind, in ink and watercolor.
Finally, here is the first of the 144 I’ll take weekly for the duration of the 1000 days. I like the way the shadow on my glasses is giving me Kembra Pfahler eyebrows.
For more about self-portraits, “selfies”, and self-representation, here’s a great piece on the work of Audrey Wollen, and even more on self-portraits here (although it should be noted that I think Richard Prince is a typical exploitative pomo dirtbag for his work.) Enjoy!
Tongco, Tricia. “Meet Audrey Wollen, The Feminist Art Star Staging A Revolution On Instagram.” The Huffington Post. 04 Dec. 2015. Web. 01 May 2017.
Citing this page:
Solomon, Alana. “Take a Picture, It’ll Last Longer.” Ortolana Studio & Press. Ortolana Studio & Press, 2 May 2017.