Last week Jez Coulson blogged on Laura Cumming's book, 'A Face to the World: On Self-Portraits.' Laura, an art critic for The Observer, looks at how famous artists have portrayed themselves and the story that their images tell. It looks like a fascinating book, but back to Jez... who accompanied his post with this excellent self-portrait:
I joked with Jez about his 'half in the picture' shot - he said it was a classic 'shades and camera' look favoured by photographers!
Well, yeah - and he has a point - but if you are a consultant who uses photography - what then?
Back to the self portrait that I took when I was struggling through a particularly tough consulting assignment...
This is the 'classic look' of a consultant in the midst of turmoil and change trying to look after people and slide good work in 'under the wire...'
A reasonable excuse but then I looked at my other self-portraits and realised I wasn't especially present in any of those images either.
And, so... to Flickr. Where searching on 'Self-Portrait' produces 1.3 million hits. I didn't check them all but I would guess that the photographer barely appears in about 50% of the shots.
Perhaps there is a strange power in staying in the shadows; photographing, interpreting, witnessing...?
But in my Flickr search I found some incredible work by Malin Svensson, a young Swedish photographer who seems a little different. In her self-portraits, she appears both in and out of the image.
Disarmingly present yet also mysterious; a beautiful, intriguing mixture.