Photography and the Self.

In a recent post Emma wrote about Help Portrait, an amazing project aiming at mobilizing photographer to grab their cameras, find people in need in their local community and take their picture.

This made me think about how much photography can help people. This project is one big example, but looking closer and smaller photography can make a difference in your ordinary life. Give a camera to children and you’ll see their imagination run free, give a picture to someone you care and you’ll see their smile, take a portrait of someone and they’ll realize how beautiful they are.

I’ve been thinking about this lately as I wanted to change my profile picture not only here on this blog, but on various social networks as well. I have never experimented much with portraits – just on very few occasions – and never with self portaits. The few pictures I had of myself were taken by Emma, who really has a special eye when it comes to portraying people and herself.

Photos change along with people’s changes. It’s not only about years adding up, it’s about attitudes and feelings, experiences lived and self awareness. The picture I had was old as I am not the person I was when it had been taken.

Taking self portraits it’s always a challenge: we all are hyper-critics when it comes to ourselves. We want perfection and never seem to grab it. But this time I knew I wanted something different than simply looking good. I wanted substance, I wanted to see in that shot what I feel when I hold the camera in my hands and shoot. No veils, no masks. Just me and my camera, me and photography and the happy I feel when using it.

Did I succeeded? It’s not me to judge whether it’s good or bad. But I know that I grabbed what I was looking for, I have grabbed the new me, and most importantly I have caught the feeling.

So coming back to photography helping people, I can say that photography helped me re-defining myself. It had helped me a lot in the past, and it is still doing. This time it boosted my self esteem as it pushed me to experiment and win my challenge at taking self portraits. But most of all, to reach the feeling I was looking for.

*If you’ve not seen my new profile pic yet and you’re curious, just scroll down a little bit and you’ll see it. 🙂


About Marta Favro

Full time employee in an online marketing agency, photographer and traveller (not necessary in that order). Graduated in English Literature. Passionate of long walks in the Nature, cats, books, music.
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2 Responses to Photography and the Self.

  1. Jeff says:

    I find experiences on both sides of self-portraiture criticism. I agree we can be too critical on ourselves in regards to how we look (or think we look) in a self-portrait as well as is it a good photograph. On the other hand I can see (from the same person) multiple camera at arm’s length’s photos taken without any care in that the numerous photos flood the few interesting ones to view.

    Your image is nice; tight composition and good expression!

    • Marta Favro says:

      I completely agree with you. We are all submerged with tons of camera arms length self portraits that serve nothing but to feed the “author’s” ego and to bother people who care nothing about them. Every photograph should be’ “thought” before being taken, and that I think is what distinguishes golf from bad photography. We should never be to critical with ourselves, nor just shooting because I am holding a camera. As always, truth lies in the middle.
      Thanks for your comment!

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