A Psychological Selfie Portrait
The selfie is so ubiquitous these days that even iphones have “selfie” modes! The subculture of the selfie exploded with the onset of the mirror camera mode- and now, it would be difficult to find anyone that has a smart phone that does not know what a selfie is. However, this practice has been around for hundreds of years, and was previously identified as a “self portrait”. The earliest that I can identify are from as far back as the Renaissance (1500’s). Not all artists worked in this mode, however this is when we see artists reflecting back on themselves, some more often than others (Rembrandt).
For this week’s discussion, you are going to create a psychological self portrait that is influenced by an artist from the textbook, and analyze it as an art historian might, or someone with a trained eye might, (like yours!).
A psychological self portrait gives us an insight into your emotions and feelings. It tells us of where you are at mentally and emotionally. Color, size, iconography, how much space your image takes up in the composition: these elements together tell us the story of you, in that moment.
Here are the Requirements:
1. Take a photograph of yourself that is psychologically interesting. It MUST be inspired by an image from the textbook*. Use your phones camera settings to adjust the colors, zoom in, crop, etc. Your selfie portrait must tell a story that you will interpret based on these elements:
Composition, Vantage; are you central and up close? Significantly small and off center? Zoom in! Or out!
- Up close leaves no mystery, as opposed to far away
- Central gives you the dominant role, off center may indicate a role reversal of central importance
Color; black & white, color saturation- vivid, faded. Use your phone’s camera settings to adjust the colors to suit the psychological interpretation.
- Bright saturation may indicate a false intensity
- Faded colors may indicate lack of emotion, loss
- Black and white can tell of loss of vigor, or create extreme drama
Iconography: Props, clothing
- Objects and types of clothing must add to the story of your mental and emotional status and lead to an interpretation.
2. Analyze your selfie based on the 3 elements:
3. Reflection: was it successful? Does it create the psychological portrait you were hoping for?
4. Identify the artist’s work that you took inspiration from. This MUST be from the textbook. Is the inspiration evident? How was it inspired by the artist? Be specific.
Things to consider:
You may create a factitious character like Cindy Sherman did. This broadens your possibilities. Make up a totally new you!
If you are camera shy, you may photograph someone else that can be your model.
Use an artist from the textbook as an inspiration; you do not have to copy them.
*Refer to pgs 317-323, or images 11.4-11.13 for reference.
Things not to do:
- No normal everyday selfies.
- No environments/backgrounds that are vague or not directly related to your psychological portrait.
- Use the timer mode on your phone, so…..no hands holding the phone. Make it a real portrait!
- Interpret the photographs as you see them, and does it match up with what the artist intended?
- What can be recommended? How can the photograph be stronger as a psychological portrait?
- What artist from the textbook does it remind you of?