‘Aren’t you that girl that takes all those selfies?’
So many people still seem to think a self-portrait and a selfie are the same thing.
A photo taken within a second, with your phone held in your stretched out arm, fake smile, no story, just showing the world your face.
Oh don’t get me wrong – selfies are fine. I like to send them to my family or post one on Instagram if I am bored or at a nice place.
But selfies are not self-portraits. It’s like comparing fastfood to a five-course menu that took you four hours to prepare. I don’t say one of the two is better per se, but one of the two involves a deeper thought, a lot of work and often a piece of your heart.
A self-portrait almost always contains a concept, a story or an emotion the artist whats to share. It took more than a few seconds to create it. It is a piece of the artist, a page of their diary. Most often the viewer will not be able to read the handwriting easily but you will understand the mood by the few words you can recognize.
When I was younger I considered those saying, people who take self-portraits are narcissistic, to be right.
Today I know that taking a self-portrait does not mean that you love yourself or that you think you look beautiful. It’s simply a way to express yourself or an idea/concept/emotion. Just as it is a way to explore and understand yourself.
When I take a self-portrait I work with myself just as I do with any other model I take photos of. Either the person plays a role to bring an idea/concept/story to life or the photo is about themselves, about who they really are.
I do believe that taking self-portraits is a way to understand yourself and also to accept who you are. In my eyes it’s a form of a therapy. Spending time with yourself is incredibly important. There is nothing wrong about it at all.
In fact I for myself think that the first step to be a good person is to be in peace with yourself and to know who you are.
Self-portraits helped me – and still do help me – to find myself and to express what I can’t say in any other way. Self-portraits changed me into a better person and saved my life. But that’s another story.
So in short: don’t be afraid to take self-portraits. Explore, express, find and even cure yourself.