For everything that has been written about selfies in the last few months, one could be fooled into thinking that using oneself as a model is a new phenomenon. Of course, it isn’t: artists have been creating self portraits for centuries – perhaps, as I recall reading somewhere – because the artist is the one model always available, for free.
I haven’t taken formal portraits – of my self or anyone else – for a long time, but last week I needed to attach a photograph to a form; ages ago, a friend said that they thought my online avatar looked like someone wanted by the police.
So I set out to take a new self portrait, setting up the tripod and positioning myself against a plain coloured wall. The form required no shadows (nor any hint of emotion), and I used a flash for that.
But for the avatar, I was happy to switch the flash off and, lit from the window to the side, emphasise the shadow.
The avatar uses a colour version, but I have just thought of stripping the colour out to create a harsh black and white image, which I prefer. Derivative (Bailey, perhaps?), but I rather like it.