One of the first pictures I've ever taken that was any good was a self-portrait.
I was sitting at home in the middle of the night, my hands were itching to start working on my first college project and the only person I had available as a model was me. There was a timer on my 35 mm camera and a ceiling light in my kitchen, which was all I needed to create this:
That night, I fell in love with this process. Working on your own is a very low-pressure, relaxed experience - it's very calm, very intimate and private. Being alone with your own thoughts and ideas creates a wonderful state of ultimate focus, concentration and creative independence.
Not to mention how convenient it is not having to depend on other people, or include them at all - you can work wherever and whenever you want, for as long as you want.
But is there more to it than that?
To understand the nature of a self-portrait, we must first consider portraiture in general.
The most successful portraits are the ones that manage to go beyond the exterior and communicate something more, reveal something about the subject's identity. However, identity is a complex thing and what we see in a portrait is, inevitably, only an interpretation of some aspect of it by the artist. Since we have the most insight into our own minds, self-portraits can give us an opportunity to express our own identity through our chosen medium, or at least, what we understand to be our own identity.
This raises further questions about self-perception - it's not like our view of ourselves is completely unbiased or accurate. Sometimes, it actually takes an outside perspective to identify character traits that are obscured from us by our own denial, delusion or simple lack of self-awareness.
Which makes me wonder, what's actually more accurate in terms of expressing someone's identity - a portrait or a self-portrait? As with most philosophical questions, the answer doesn't really matter, but it's an interesting thought to contemplate.
Another aspect of the genre that I find fascinating is the element of unpredictability it brings to the work process, as I usually work in a way that doesn't allow to preview the image as it's being made.
This is actually a common theme in all my work - surrendering some control over the image and see what happens. Wether working with lensless cameras, expired film, multiple and long exposures or 'blind' self-portraits, I love introducing an element of surprise, so the picture, to some extent, makes itself.
This approach allows me to explore the medium of photography itself and the way it works, which is, at the end of the day, my main goal.
See the full self-portrait gallery here.