Finding Creative Expression With Self-Portraits



Confession time...

I’m shy.

Picture-shy; Camera-shy.

What I’m saying is I don’t like being photographed. (Some people say this, yet they strike fifty poses so that their friend can get one good shot of them. Yes, I’m judging you)

Only thing is, I’m a photographer. I take pictures for a living, all the time. Pictures of people, places, random trees, and stray dogs. But if you happen to put me in front of the camera to take pictures of me, I’d freeze like a deer caught in headlights.

Fun fact

A deer’s eyes consist of more rods than cones, which is why it is able to see very clearly, even at night. However, when a car’s headlight beam falls into their eyes, the deer becomes blinded by the bright light. Until its eyes adjust to that heightened level of brightness, a deer will keep standing there, which makes it look like the deer is rooted to the spot.

Science ABC

I’m the deer; the deer is me.

My aforementioned affliction nonetheless has not deterred me from finding creative expression with self-portraits. It’s one of the ways I’m able to have several pictures of myself over the years. I love self-portraits.

So, that’s what I’ll be sharing with you today. Who’s excited?

If you raised your eyebrows at this, it’s okay, I surprise myself too. — Hugs self — Let’s get on with it.

What Is a Self-Portrait?

The first thing to know is that self-portraiture is an established form of art.

According to Wikipedia, a self-portrait is a representation of an artist that is drawn, painted, photographed, or sculpted by that artist.

By the Baroque period, most artists with an established reputation at least left drawings of themselves. Printed portraits of artists had a market, and many were self-portraits. They were also sometimes given as gifts to family and friends. If nothing else, they avoided the need to arrange for a model, and for the many professional portrait-painters, a self-portrait kept in the studio acted as a demonstration of the artist’s skill for potential new clients. The unprecedented number of self-portraits by Rembrandt, both as paintings and prints, made clear the potential of the form, and must have further encouraged the trend.

Another fun fan

Rembrandt van Rijn was not the first artist to create self-portraits but he is attributed to have between 80 to over 100 self-portraits - paintings, drawings, and prints. This Dutch genius did it by looking at himself in the mirror. Now that I think of it, selfies had to have come from somewhere.

His oeuvre of self-portraits spanned about 40 years, throughout his career and shows the progression of his style. It has been discovered that he had most of his students copy his self-portraits.

I wonder what he was thinking all the time he was painting himself or having a copy made. I can guess it would be something like, “I’m a spec. I drip glory. Haters will hate. Potato will potate. I’m nobody’s mate.”

And he was correct. He killed the selfie, I mean self-portraits game in his time.

Eh! Selfies And Self-Portraits Are The Same

Let me think about that for a sec.


A lot of people will say an outright no to this. However, selfies and self-portraits overlap in a certain way. The difference between the two is that selfies are more random. About 93 million selfies are taken daily and are easily discarded, whereas a self-portrait is more deliberate and takes more time and effort to create. Still, an artist can use a selfie as a self-portrait.

I like how it’s examined here with so much insight into artists’ work and lives – How The Self Portrait Evolved into The Selfie.

A self-portrait is a selfie that went to Harvard.

Boom! Mic drop


Why Is A Self-Portrait Important?

Although some of these artists did self-portraits because they were too broke to pay a model, it still is a valid form of creative expression. An artist spent days or weeks creating a self-portrait whether it was etchings, oil painting, or drawing. As a crucial part of art history, self-portraits is a form by which many artists are remembered by and offers insights into their lives, state of mind and the times they lived in.

The Lady in the Frame is me; I am the Lady in the Frame

Over the years that I have been taking self-portraits, I’ve come to appreciate it the more. Not only do I have pictures of myself that I can look back at, but I also find myself searching for meaning and purpose in my self-portraits as time passes.

For me, it started because I was always available of course. Soon it became about creating more than the average photograph. When I’m by myself – as is always the case when I take self-portraits – I feel like I’m going through the motions. Already the idea of what I want to achieve is in my head, what I want it to look like, and I can spend as much time as I want to create it. It’s as much about experimenting with photography techniques as well as an exploration of my emotions. Also, I use my phone to take my self-portraits. Oooooooh!

Sorelle Amore

She’s an Australian-born YouTube, Videographer, and Photographer. In my early days of photography, I stumbled on her YouTube channel. Her book, Take Your Selfies Seriously: The Advanced Selfies and The Selfie Handbook explores how you can express yourself through artistic self-portraits. Over the years Sorelle has revealed that selfies/self-portraits have empowered her to let go of her insecurities and learn to love herself – embrace the divinity of a woman. She also teaches courses on lifestyle, finances, and many more.

Finally, this year I hope to have a collection of self-portraits unlike I have ever done before. I plan to share them too (peep the slideshow below). I feel like I go through so many emotions when I take self-portraits. As I see it, it’s not only about the end result, but also to exist in the moment, and to be conscious of my body, thoughts, and my environment. I find that sometimes I’m anxious to get it right and other times it’s like eating cotton candy, easy and sweet. If you also like self-portraits or you are considering it, you have my stamp of approval – whatever it is worth – to carry on soldier. For those wondering how to start in the first place, no worries, I’ll share tips on how to take self-portraits in my next post. Let me know what you think in the comments.

See ya!

9 thoughts on “Finding Creative Expression With Self-Portraits

  1. I am in love with you! Shey you know I learn new stuff every time i read your blog post

    On Tue, Jan 11, 2022 at 7:21 AM Waking Dreams Unmasked wrote:

    > Rigozo posted: ” Rigozo Holla! Confession time… I’m shy. Picture-shy; > Camera-shy. What I’m saying is I don’t like being photographed. (Some > people say this, yet they strike fifty poses so that their friend can get > one good shot of them. Yes, I’m judging” >


  2. Love this. I’m the same – a photographer who can’t stand the thought of being photographed by somebody else. It’s awkward posing for myself also, but I’ve noticed the amazing benefits it has on my confidence in general. I love how with them you get this new perspective on who you are, you see yourself in ways you never could before. In a way, it’s like you meet an aspect of yourself for the first time. 🙂


    1. I know exactly how you feel. The solitude helps me to feel less self-conscious and I’m able to pay more attention to myself, especially my mind and body. Thank you Julija.
      PS I hopped over to your blog. I think your pictures are lovely and soulful.❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I agree about the solitude. I believe with practice and in time we’ll get comfortable, or at least not so terribly awkward :D, in front of other people as well.
        Oooooh thank you so much for those lovely words, I’m happy you liked it! ❤


  3. This piece is beautiful, raw yet vulnerable. I did have an aversion to having my pictures being taken. I had to give myself time to ease into it.

    Seeing what you have written today, I will take my time to take more self portraits.


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