Session 2: Identity and Self-portraiture

This week in 'Identity and Self-portraiture' we discussed self-portraiture in the context of gender, politics, constructing identity, challenging stereotypes and as photo-therapy.

We looked at primary artists who have influenced contemporary thinking about self portraiture and some contemporary practitioners who build on these ideas. We discussed the intentionality of the work and discussed the appropriateness of self portraiture.

Key words to think about...

Performance – Embody – Self Portraiture – Selfie – Identity – Phototherapy – Stereotype – Role play

Click on the image below to see the lecture slides:


This week's task: A ‘Self Portrait’ Portrait...

Building on the class discussions your task is to make your own self portrait. This brief can be interpreted as broadly as you like. Consider what point you would like to make and how best to perform that role. Experimentation is encouraged. What medium are you going to use? Colour or Black and White? What format are you going to use? What presentation may support the portrait? Do you need to make more than one image? Whose image is it?  What are you trying to reveal in the image?

Task deadline: Post on G+ collaborative open space by Wednesday 8th March  for class feedback


List of relevant Photographers/Artists and Bodies of work discussed: 

Juno Calypso (2015) Honeymoon Suit

Claude Cahun (1912-1932) Self Portraits

Catherine Opie (1993/4) Self Portraits

Jo Spence (1979) Beyond the Family Album

Jo Spence (1981-82) Remodelling Photo History

Jo Spence (1982-1986) The Picture of Health

Frida Kahlo (1944) The Broken Column

Sam Taylor-Wood (2001) Self Portrait in a Single Breasted Suit with Hare

Elina Brotherus (2009-14) The Annunciation

Cindy Sherman (1977-80) Film Stills & (2008) Society Portraits #Untitled

Gillian Wearing (2003) Album

Hans Eijkelboom (1970’s) Family Portraits

Trish Morrissey (2001-04) Family Portraits

Nicki S Lee (1997-2001) Projects

Samuel Fosso (1970’s) Self Portraits

Shadi Ghadirian (2008-09) Self Portraits

Amalia Ulman: (2014) Excellences and perfections

Tracy Emin (1998) My Bed

Tim Soter (2001) Self-Portrait

Ben Eldin (2016) Self Portrait

Grayson Perry (2015) Who do we think we are?


For further reading...

Bright, S. (2010) Auto Focus. Thames & Hudson

Doy, G (2005) Picturing the self: Changing view of the subject in visual culture. I. B. Taurus

Hall, S. (1997) Representation: cultural representations and signifying practices. London Thousand Oaks, California: Sage in association with the Open University.

Miller, D. (2015) Photography in the Age of Snapchat. RAI

Olin, M. (2012) Touching Photographs. University of Chicago Press

Moorhouse, P. (2014) Cindy Sherman. Phadion Publishing

Smith, C. (2011) Enacting Others. Duke Press

Spence, J. (1986) Putting myself in the picture: A political personal and photographic autobiography. Camden Press.

(2010) Identity & Identification. Black Dog Publishing. London

(2016) Performing for the camera. Tate publishing


Further references and resources are on the end of the powerpoint slide presentation and will continue to be disseminated through  @picbod and G+ community page.