Within a module at University we were asked to come up with ideas for our own creative self portraits, to portray ourselves and to explore the ways in which professional practitioners create a self-portrait that reflects their identity to the world. The self portraits I create are to be presented as animated GIFs or Cinemagraphs showing movement within still images and creating another way of presenting ourselves. With this in mind I researched into self portraits, with nothing specific in mind I scrolled through finding interesting pieces of work to focus my first GIF and ideas on.
I looked into work by Chuck Close who focuses on creating self-portraits through painting. He discovered that art was one thing that gave him a sense of identity, which therefore shows his passion through his self-portrait by painting himself with his own techniques and desire of painting. He creates designs that amplify abstraction and qualities through colour and pattern. The descriptive detail of the face is lost a little within his paintings as he goes for an abstract approach, however to balance out the lost detail within the face he focuses on colour and pattern which impacts the portrait and gives the viewer an alternative way of reading an image. His paintings are still recognisable as you can still notice the main aspects of a face; the eyes, mouth, ears, nose etc.
I like how you can work out what Chuck looks like through the abstraction but because the face is distorted you are made to figure out the features within his face. This shows Chuck in a way that he wants people to view himself. He portrays himself through his artwork and his passion towards it. It shows the way he thinks and in a way we can see him though his thoughts and through his eyes, how he see’s things.
I then carried on exploring distortion and abstraction which landed me on to the work by Pablo Picasso. He painted self-portraits of himself throughout the years which shows a sense of change, where his earlier paintings are completely different to the later ones. It shows his thought process throughout the years which I like and how his painting techniques changed over time. As you get more into his later work his paintings of himself become unrecognisable. He starts using patterns and different strokes to portray his features on his face. Making some features more amplified than others. I like the idea of seeing their own thought process when creating a self-portrait of themselves.
By looking at self-portrait artwork by Chuck Close and Pablo Picasso it has given me an idea into how I want to present myself in a self portrait. I like the idea of making the viewer see what I see. When thinking of ways to present my own photography and videography work i see things that other people wouldn’t necessarily think of and vice versa. I like that each of us have a different thought process and the ways we see things change from each individual. Not everyone has the same way of thinking as yourself which makes each person unique.
This led me on to look at more Artist work. I researched more into animated GIFs and movement within still image. I came across Romain Laurent who as well as creating GIFs and cinemagraphs, also creates still image and moving image. As he says he works on ‘Moving, half moving and non-moving’ photography.
He focuses on creating images where there is little movement but still noticeable. When looking through his work I was interested in images where the face was blocked or distorted, this making the viewer focus on the movement and the surroundings and maybe the way the person is dressed, thoughts about what the person, underneath the object that is stopping the viewer from seeing the face, looks like, why the image was created in this way etc.
I narrowed down what I was interested in and decided to focus on what I want my GIF to portray and look like.
These two images became my favourite:
I like that in both images you are unable to see the whole face but they are both looking through something even if the object, such as on the left, is opaque, it feels like he is skimming through the book. Even though on the right image you can see features of the face, it is not letting you see what the person behind really looks like, this makes the viewer imagine what that person may look like through the way they dress and the surroundings. This is distorting her vision, as well as the viewer's because the viewer can only see the enhanced feature of the face through the glass. When I see this image I first think of what she may see through the glass. She looks around seeing the world in a different perspective, one that we cannot see without the glass. It’s like seeing the world differently when photographing something, a camera can pull out something that the naked eye cannot see. This actually goes back to a project I did a few months back which focuses on water movement where the camera can capture something that we are not able to do. This is a different way of viewing the world.
I wanted to replicate the right image and see what I could come up with, within my own self portrait. I used a crystal ball which when looked through you can see your surroundings but everything is upside down and a bit distorted.
I created this cinemagraph in Photoshop. I wanted the surroundings to stay still and only make the eye moving like I am looking around the room, just like Romain Laurent’s image. However, I felt that there was too much movement inside the circle as I couldn’t hold the ball still enough so it is a little wobbly.
I then created an animated GIF which showed the movement of the hands. I feel this works better as the ball does not look edited to fit in my hands. However, I am interested in seeing the surrounds and what I am wearing for the viewer to see the area and myself more.
This is my final outcome. I like how you can see the surroundings and what I am wearing so that can have an idea of what I am like. As the eye is the main focal point I wanted to make the surroundings and my body still it didn’t distract the viewer away.
"Romain Laurent". GIPHY. Web. 27 Apr. 2017.
"Romain Laurent". Romainlaurent.tumblr.com. Web. 27 Apr. 2017.
"Picasso’s Self Portrait Evolution From Age 15 To Age 90". Bored Panda. N.p., 2016. Web. 27 Apr. 2017.
"Chuck Close". Artyfactory.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 27 Apr. 2017.