Going Beyond Simple Self-Portraits

Many photographers use self-portraiture to say larger things about themselves, their lives, or the world.


Yasmin Etemadi
Etemadi's work concerns her feelings about living in the US post 9/11 as an Iranian-American woman.


Hippolyte Bayard, Self-Portrait as a Drowned Man
Bayard was one of the innovators of direct positive printing in photography, but was presuaded
to delay his announcement by a friend of Louis Daguerre. Daguerre then gained credit for a rival process,
and a distraught Bayard created the image above and wrote the following on the back of the image:

The corpse which you see here is that of M. Bayard, inventor of the process that has just been shown to you.
As far as I know this indefatigable experimenter has been occupied for about three years with his discovery.
The Government which has been only too generous to Monsieur Daguerre, has said it can do nothing for Monsieur Bayard,
and the poor wretch has drowned himself. Oh the vagaries of human life....! ... He has been at the morgue
for several days, and no-one has recognized or claimed him. Ladies and gentlemen, you'd better pass along for fear
of offending your sense of smell, for as you can observe, the face and hands of the gentleman are beginning to decay.


The Hip Hop Project

The Schoolgirl Project

The Senior Project

The Skater Project

The Tourist Project

The Latina Project
Nikki S. Lee
Nikki S. Lee infiltrates sub cultures by dressing as, and participating in, their activities.
She researches the subculture, and then lives among them for weeks or months at a time.



Arno Rafael Minkkinen
"Instead of giving expression to the world's outer appearances and perplexities, I have wished to explore
the inner world of our fears, hopes, and desires in an attempt to make communion with the one world we inhabit.
Just as rocks and trees have not changed much over time, so our bodies are not much different today
than they were five hundred years ago; hands, fingers, toes, all those basic things are essentially the same.
For thirty years now I have been engaged with this single idea:
to use my own body as a means of expressing our relationship to nature."
A.R. Minkkinen


Nan Goldin, Self-Portrait One Month after being Battered
Goldin's work has to do with documenting relationships between people.
Discussion questions:
-Why would a photographer take this picture?
-Why would she take this picture one month after the incident?
-Why would she choose to make this a self-portrait, and not just find someone else who was battered?
-Why is she wearing lipstick, earrings, and a necklace in the photo?
-How does this photograph make you feel?
-What do you think Goldin is trying to tell the viewer?


© 2005