BA Phot

Self Portraits

Back - - examples

This subject begat output both in EyV - and C&N and a piece in the zine.

In the blog entry for 6th November [2018] I observed that,

The November edition of the RPS Journal features their 2018 awards and includes a piece on Juno Calypso (winner of the Vic Odden award). Calypso uses an alter ego, Joyce, to explore "female stereotypes and self-perception". This merits an entry in the BAPhot Photographers Gallery. This also reminded me of the self portrait with a hare photograph, seen in the Portrait Gallery several times that I traced to Sam Taylor-Johnson so she has an entry too.

Juno Calypso Sam Taylor-Johnson
Fig. 1 Juno Calypso, A Clone of Your Own, 2017
Fig. 2 Sam Taylor-Johnson, Self-portrait in Single-breasted Suit with Hare, 2001
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This led me to thinking about staged self portraiture which seems to be the preserve of female photographers. While most male photographers make mirror self portraits (Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Bill Brandt and Stanley Kubrick, to name just thee in the gallery).

Manuel Álvarez Bravo Bill Brandt Stanley Kubrick
Fig. 3 Manuel Álvarez Bravo, self portrait
Fig. 4 Bill Brandt, self portrait
Fig. 5 Stanley Kubrick, self portrait, 1949

I had assumed, incorrectly, that this was a mirror self portrait by Brandt. It is, in fact, a photograph by Laelia Goehr. More details here.

Some female photographers take a more elaborate, sometimes theatrical approach, Calypso and Taylor-Johnson as above, but also Claude Cahun, Cindy Sherman and Francesca Woodman.

Claude Cahun Cindy Sherman Woodman
Fig. 6 Claude Cahun, self portrait
Fig. 7 Cindy Sherman, Untitled, from The Indomitable Spirit, 1979
Fig. 8 Francesca Woodman, Self-Deceit #4, Rome

Jeff Wall is an exception to this with Picture for Women (does he use a mirror?), while Ilse Bing and (later) Sally Mann sit somewhere between the two camps.

Picture for Women, 1979 Bing Self Portrait Sally Mann
Fig. 9 Jeff Wall, Picture for Women, 1979
Fig. 10 Ilse Bing, Self portrait with Leica, 1931
Fig. 11 Sally Mann, self portrait, (ambrotype) c. 2006

Is this generalisation valid and, if so, why is this?

Page created 07-Nov-2018 | Page updated 30-Aug-2020