VC05_B07 – Self Portrait


The objective of this activity is to enhance your understanding of body image and identity through the exploration of design elements and objects used as symbolic reference to portray a message and evoke emotion.


The Activity:

Capture a portrait of yourself that describes through the choice of objects and environment something of your persona. This may include elements that reflect your profession, interests or passions. The self-portrait may also reflect your core beliefs, be it political or spiritual and may also reflect your philosophies on life. It is important that the image communicates to the viewer aspects of you, therefore you need to consider the inclusion of objects and their combination and arrangement that work together and evolve into a strong narrative.  The objects may be symbolic or factual, and consider the use of colour and lighting keys to supporting the narrative.

In constructing your image consider the following:

  • Background and setting
  • Placement and relationship of objects: Emphasis, structure, depth etc.
  • Personal Meaning
  • Strong composition reflecting either a traditional or contemporary approach
  • Lighting to reflect the mood, ambience and drama
  • Using colour theories and consider the following:

1. Symbolic colour to underpin the message.

2. Colour combinations as design elements.

3. The use of colour to extend the emotional reach and impact of the image.

Allow about 2 hours to complete this activity.


Post the image on to your blog accompanied by a 100 word summation to your visual journal blog.

Oh great, a selfie – I HATE selfies.  With a passion.  Probably because there are so many bad selfies out there (thank you camera phone!!)

However, I am also doing a photography challenge this year that included 3 self portraits over the course of the year, so it’s not like I don’t have to  put on my big girl panties and deal with it.

However, this one is different, very different, I can put my ideas into it, personal objects, make it much more ABOUT me than a picture of me.  What a great concept.  I decide to go down this track, as it’s so much more appealing, while probably being more difficult.. but hey?? who isn’t up for a challenge at the end of trimester?? it’s not like we are busy or anything, right??

I chose to do a candle light picture, this works on so many levels, my previous life, where I started a business as a chandler and ran it for several years, my deep and abiding faith (I am a practicing pagan), my love for the moodiness of candle light and my introverted personality.

This image took quite a while to set up, arranging and lighting all the candles was the easy part, I wanted to use my 100mm macro lens, because I love the look that it gives to low light portraits, but it’s a prime, so I had to move the camera and the setup, as I couldn’t just zoom into the right focal length, boy, was that a learning curve!

I couldn’t quite get the totally black background I was after, mostly because my lens is so good, it kept picking up the colour in the background curtains, so I spent a little time editing in photoshop, where I decided to also take the sharpness way down to add to the mood, these are all ideas that I have learnt about in VC, it has helped me to define how I present an image to create a feeling and mood in the viewer.



So that was that, I really REALLY enjoyed this challenge, putting a lot of the principles and theories that I had learnt about into practice for an image was great, putting them into a self portrait was a real curve ball, made me think LONG and hard.


About Rattimoth

Middle aged with freckles, the rest is subject to change without notice.
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