It was the Renaissance painters who first started to contemplate painting themselves, breaking away from the religious figures and royals they had previously been depicting. The self portrait was the product of the concept of Enlightenment, choosing individual experiences and reflecting them as a self portrait. The self portrait is a way to express the artist’s particular stance on the world, and in the history of self portraiture there have been some overall themes. Nudes were a way to depict the form and also express a raw sense of truth through the inherent vulnerability. The self portrait then became a tool to challenge the current values and structures of society, disrupting the thought process of the masses and challenging them to think differently. Producing a portrait also allows the artist to enter imaginary worlds, in order to negotiate an interpretation of a said concept. The self portrait was itself included in other movements of art such as performance art to express abstract notions in imaginative fashions. Lastly, the self portrait is also used as a tool to depict how different the artist feels from the rest of society, sometimes a creative mind can be distanced from others it doesn’t feel similarities with.
It is quite common for the photographer to use the self as a subject, because in terms of an effective representation, sometimes collaboration with an external subject can result in a slight corruption in the photographer’s overall aims. Therefore it stands to reason that the self portrait will be the perfect tool to express my own views that I interpret from the brief, as there will be no confusion in the way I want the images to to made because I will have full control. This sense of control is centric to my personality, I don’t enjoy being taken out of my comfort zone very much at all, so it’s curious that I haven’t actually explored self portraiture properly in my work before. I have discussed themes of identity and representation in my photography work, but I have always used other subjects or found material to represent my views visually. I’m looking forward to moving on to a different area in my work, however I still want it to link with the previous notions I have explored in my undergraduate studies. With this view in mind, I will be aiming to explore the notion of identity and how this is shaped by the pressures accompanied with increasing involvement in digital environments.