Lanzarote Self Portraits – mini project

Posted on June 8, 2012

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Before setting off for my recent trip to Lanzarote my tutor Jesse suggested that I might make a documentary piece of my experiences. He intended that I undertake an autobiographical piece. Sadly I misunderstood his idea and produced a set of photographs based on self portraits. When making the images I had in mind the self portraits which punctuate Nan Goldin’s work. I was trying to convey how I felt at stages during the three weeks I was there. The three weeks involved intensive training for my next triathlon race in Germany in July.

The challenge I had with the work was to create a set of images which conveyed a variety of emotions and which were sufficiently different to avoid the series being repetitive and boring. Finding situations to make self portraits was quite a challenge and to a very great extent I found myself setting up the photographs. When I showed the series to Jesse, he was somewhat disappointed as I had not responded to his brief. He also felt that the portraits appeared a bit contrived. I have to accept that I share this view….but how do you create a self portrait which is not contrived….I need to think about this some more.

What did I learn from this experience? First, make sure in future that I understand the expectations of the person setting the brief!! Second, I need to look in greater depth at how the great self portraits avoid the trap of appearing contrived! I also need to be very aware of the issue of a photograph looking like it has been set up – even if it has!!

Below is the set of photographs I presented to Jesse.

I am an Ironman – Lanzarote Self Portrait Series May 2012

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