ViewFinders Community: Self-Portraiture

In Community, Manifesto
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ViewFinders Manifesto:
We believe in pulling the car over to capture the view. 

If you’re here in community with us, we know you know exactly what we mean.  Sometimes the pull to capture a vista, to capture a swath of light is so strong, we just can’t help ourselves!

And sometimes, there’s a pull to capture a different sort of view.  It’s a view that is intimate and one that is sometimes intimidating.  It’s a view of ourselves.  Do we dare to turn the lens around?  What if, instead of always looking out there, we turn around and look right here?

Self-portraiture might mark happy feelings on a happy day; it might record tears of a heavier day.  Self-portraiture might celebrate a current state of ease; it might explore questions with which we wrangle internally.  The genre can be playful as well as somber.  We are complex individuals after all; it’s only natural that turning the lens on ourselves will reflect that complexity and variety.

Today, we’re sharing images in which we’ve turned the lens on ourselves, in which we pulled over from the proverbial fast lane in an effort to slow down and focus on us.  We hope you’ll share your experiences with self-portraiture in the comments below.  And we’d love to see you as well!  Tag your self-portraits on Instagram with #viewfindersio and #selfportrait …or link to your Flickr in the comments.

We’re glad you’re here with us in our ViewFinders community.  We enjoy exploring all the views with you.

This image brings me right back to when I took it.  Once again, I am sitting at my desk, looking out the window, feeling quiet.  Some amount of crispness and clarity; some amount of blur and softness.  Yes, it was that exactly.  xMichelle

So much me right now – new summer, little boy haircut, donning his graham cracker face, smudged up aviators, reflected self, baby strapped to my front, chasing him down, pleading for a moment’s stillness, weilding my camera one handed, trying like the dickens to capture these fleeting moments. – Alison

Here I am, just before I pulled my bedroom curtains, noticing my reflection.  I am in my personal space, with all it’s details,  and yet there is also the glow of the street lights below.   I have always had a fondness for this portrait, taken several years ago.  There is something about the blending of two stories — public and private —- that illustrates how complex we all are.   And while sometimes a self-portrait can look serious, I assure you, this one is not.  I remember my delight at seeing so much reflected in the window and being grateful my camera was nearby.  — Deb

Playing with double exposures has always been something that intrigues me. Sure, you can do this post process in n app or in Lightroom/photoshop, but lining things up in camera with film is another story. I’m not usually so calculated when I shoot, but with this image I slowed waaaaay down and ended up with a result that I was more than thrilled with.  – Vanessa

I am not a selfie person. Not at all. So I as surprised when roll after roll from my 366 project came back with the odd selfie. I loved the challenge of looking for mirrors or anything that could pass as one as I while away my days in London; often in restaurants, in the underground, even in loos. But I love this one which I took as I returned from a lovely day with an Instagram friend. I love that everyone else is getting on with their business while I snap away. It’s so very London. And in many ways, my life. Just getting on with things amidst the chaos of life and work.

Like Kirstin, I am not a selfie person.  And yet, I can’t resist the view of myself in an antique or grimy mirror.  Maybe it’s my way of blurring the view of my real self.  But instead I like to think that it reflects my love for old houses, antiques, and the sense of discovery you feel when you see yourself reflected back in an unfamiliar or haunting setting.  I like to think that the ghosts of the past are posing right along with me.  —lucy

Last summer a friend gave me a selfie stick for my birthday before visiting family in Asia. It’s almost embarrassing how much I love the thing. Every time I hooked my phone into it’s cradle, I’d start cracking up. I documented our travels in selfies – big grins on our faces – at every major site. Right now, I’m in China visiting my sister, so of course, the selfie stick has been seeing a lot of action. Here we are in Shanghai on the Bund, doing the tourist thing, making memories out of laughter one snap at a time. And shortly after taking these photos, guess what? My sister popped into a shop and bought her own selfie stick too!

I used to take more self-portraits in the early days when I was exploring photography as a hobby.  I still get lots of shots of my feet, although they are often accidents!  But one of the things I most like about self portraiture is the opportunity to take a moment for myself (here on one of my favorite rooftop parking lots in San Francisco) and appreciate both the moment and the fact that I’m putting myself in the picture now and then.  Because we all deserve that. –kim

Blurry, doubled, reflected, and with a camera in front of my face. Don’t read too much into it, this image isn’t laden with metaphoric intention. The truth is I’m always so much more interested in facing out to the world, to see what wonders she holds than looking back myself. But sometimes, times happy as this one, sad, important or seemingly  inconsequential, I feel an urge to see myself in my photos – to tag my roll of film and maybe the world, with a piece evidence that I was there.

“When the sun is shining I can do anything; no mountain is too high, no trouble too difficult to overcome.” Wilma Rudolph.

I have many self portraits in and with the sun as my theme. And I will definitely take more. It’s my own way of showing I too can shine. –Maite

This me, at a photography workshop a few weeks back. The first time I’ve touched my film cameras in 2.5 years after dealing with the break-up of my marriage. I wanted to capture my eye, that I was seeing things again. That indeed, I’m still a photographer. —Meghan

Practicing self-portraiture never gets easier as many times as I’ve tried it.  The logistics of getting the camera set up, focused and capturing your vision are only a small part.  It’s the fear and joy of being “seen” and the role reversal of being the one in the frame instead of the one behind the lens.  Also?  It’s the fact that sometimes I’m the only model available when an idea pops up…  –Angie

~the ViewFinders



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