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View Poll Results: Gender and self portraiture?

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  • I'm male and like being in front of the camera

    25 20.16%
  • I'm male and don't like being in front of the camera

    79 63.71%
  • I'm female and like being in front of the camera

    4 3.23%
  • I'm female and don't like being in front of the camera

    16 12.90%
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  1. #1

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    Gender and self portraiture

    A couple years ago the local art gallery had a large, eclectic photography show that included one gallery given over to self-portraiture. There were photographers pictured dressed as belonging to different ethnic groups, as TV personalities, as family members, and as themselves in various guises. But the interesting thing is that they were all female -- something I noticed without comment to my lady companion until I read the intro to the room (of course, on the way out) which itself acknowledged the obvious fact. The discussion that followed got heated, things were said, and I admit the words "self-obsessed" may have come out of my mouth. It got ugly quick.

    Obviously, I'm not looking to repeat anything like that here *. In fact, after thinking about it, I've come to almost admire the kind of self awareness and acceptance that would make you want to routinely be at the business end of your own camera. But I still wonder how many males have reached that point as opposed to females, and why? There's a Chuck Close for every Cindy Sherman, but IS there really? For every one? I don't think so.



    *But just in case, I've waited for two years to post this for moderators to be at their top "thread closing" form.

  2. #2
    SuzanneR's Avatar
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    Coincidentally, I was reminded of the work of Arno Rafael Minkkinnen earlier today, and I would say, he's made some of the most interesting self portraits out there.

    http://www.arnorafaelminkkinen.org/

  3. #3

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    Thanks for the link, Suzanne. Great portfolios and many of those just make you smile.

  4. #4
    jd callow's Avatar
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    I'm may be self obsessed, but I think I like posing because I know how and I understand the medium -- in my own way-- and therefore prefer working with a more knowledgeable model. ;-7 having said that I have shot far fewer self-portraits as I have other portraits.

    *

  5. #5
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poco View Post
    In fact, after thinking about it, I've come to almost admire the kind of self awareness and acceptance that would make you want to routinely be at the business end of your own camera.
    I *hate* being photographed. In one sense, it is a defensive tactic: I place myself on the end of the camera with the film in it, so I am not in the field of view - the other end - in front of the lens.

    I don't think those of us with this phobia are alone. The beloved (sniff!) Camera and Darkroom once ran an essay containing the images of a photographer (name escapes me at the moment) who set out on a quest to photograph the "famous photographers" of the day. His comment after five years of trying, "That's it - I'm DONE! I'll never try that again. Worst possible collection of "models" there could ever be - self-conscious, elusive, evasive..."

    One of the subjects was a fashion photographer working in Paris, named "Sasha". In twenty-five years she had NEVER allowed a photograph of herself to be taken. After a monumental amount of pleading and groveling, cajoling, begging ... She let him take *ONE* photograph. One. After he showed her the result, she astounded him by saying that she LIKED it!!

    I think you might get an idea of how much I like to be photographed from my avatar. That IS me, done by me - protection afforded courtesy of the Tilley hat and Hasselblad.
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  6. #6
    Whiteymorange's Avatar
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    I actually only like being in front of a camera that I am also operating. Self portraits are OK. Snapshots of me bother the hell out of me. Irrational, but hey...

  7. #7

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    Okay, we can stop this thread. I totally forgot about Callow and he alone blows the thesis to hell. First he's a frying pan, now he's a clown ...even Sherman never posed as a kitchen utensil.

  8. #8

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    Whitey, you beat me to it. I was about to say that I'm not sure the poll as written measures anything about self-portraiture. Being comfortable using oneself as a subject isn't the same thing as liking to have your picture taken by someone else; the poll seems to measure the latter rather than the former. I hate having my picture taken, but have made several self-portraits, not because I'm self-obsessed, but for random reasons: once I just happened to inadvertently take a picture of myself reflected in a window, and liked the colors and shapes of the accidental picture so well I printed it; once I wanted a picture of breasts; since I happen to have some, I used mine for the sake of convenience. But it wasn't about me, it was about breasts, and if you think I would pose nude for anyone but myself, you are completely out of your mind.

  9. #9

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    I usually hate having myself in front of a camera, even when I'm the one taking the picture, but I have just done some nude photos of one of the mature age women I work with. To get a better understanding of what it is like, I have volunteered to pose nude for one of the art students majoring in photography. This person is female so it will be interesting to see how she "sees" me. I might have to try again with a male photographer and then again doing it myself, just to see the differences in their attitude to me and how I see myself.
    Hopefully they won't portray me in too bad a light. (Pun intended)
    Mike

  10. #10
    wfe
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    For my money Cig Harvey has some of the most amazing self portraits I've ever seen. I've also had the pleasure of working with her.
    http://www.cigharvey.com

    Personally I don't mind being in front of the camera but I'm a terrible model so I suppose that's a no for me.

    Cheers,
    Bill
    ~Bill
    "Real Art is a Thin Breath Exhaled Amidst a Struggle in the Mind"
    Fine Art and Portraits

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