Titled Mirror Stills: Self-Portraitature Take III

Always Watch Your Back While Rendering a Series of Self-Portraits. Polly Nance. Digital photograph. 8 x 10 inches.

I took these photographs yesterday when I was spontaneously inspired to create a series of self-portraits. I have this lamp that I LOATHE because it hurts my eyes, as well as everyone else’s eyes who sits near it. Therefore, there is no lightbulb currently in its socket. But, I do love the fragmented mirror pieces that spiral to create a beautiful effect. I’m not sure why anyone would ever think this would make for a great lamp… but it makes for a great experiment with photographic self-portraiture. If you have never heard of Cindy Sherman, look her up… especially, her Untitled Film Stills. She basically studied films and created a series of self-portraits, none of which include her own identity. She was toying around with the ways women have been portrayed all over the world in films. I love her and if I were producing this work for a gallery, I’d write more. So, that is why I encourage each of you who view this post to look into her more. She is currently teaming up with the makeup company MAC (who she says is a makeup company for freaks… and individuals. She is obviously a fan). Her work is highly conceptual and so, I wished to play off of her work in Untitled Film Stills. This mirror was perfect because I saw my face in multiples… thus, the emphasis in facial expressions are more pronounced than they would be in an ordinary mirror. I set my camera on a tripod, but I had trouble keeping my head out of the way. At first I was frustrated, but then I decided this was a challenge in which to work with. And, I ended up liking the ones, with my physical head showing, the most. I feel as if the strongest photograph is the one I posted at the top. I love the expression… and I love how I’m looking off into the distance. I experimented with different facial expressions and poses… all a part of my own identity, unlike Sherman’s work.

I love how the mirrored lampshade allows for variations in cropping. In other words, although my facial expression is the same in each frame, each fragment contains a different cropped version of that expression. This allowed me greater room for producing meaning within these compositions. I am a goofball who never likes to make normal smiles in photographs… a personality trait that frustrates my friends who want pretty pictures… but to me, weird facial expressions make a photograph far more interesting. I just hate boring, I guess you could say. I was going for theatrical… but I’m no actress and these are my own identity seen in multiple frames. Some show my whole face, while some only reveal small portions; and others display my hands. I was having fun with this… it is hard to take myself seriously enough to create self-portraits so I’m trying to work with myself in these as well. I want to invite the viewer in to perhaps imagine my thinking behind these compositions… I wanted to force viewers to slow down and think basically. Photography is not just about pretty pictures… it is an art form… and I do not wish to be a craft nor design artist (though I respect both and enjoy both greatly). Plus, I love how this lamp alluded to the John Lennon song that my blog is titled after. I hope you enjoy these photographs. Thanks y’all. šŸ™‚

Where Am I? Polly Nance. Digital photograph. 10 x 8 inches.

‘I am Frightened by My Whiteness’ Stills. Polly Nance. Digital photograph. 10 x 8 inches.

The Self is the Only Self that Can Damage the Self. Polly Nance. Digital photographs. 8 x 10 inches.

Stills of Brown Hair… Or is It Black? Polly Nance. Digital photograph. 10 x 8 inches.

The Self is the Only Self that Can Uplift Its Self. Polly Nance. Digital photograph. 10 x 8 inches.

Stills that PEACE Together Souls. Polly Nance. Digital photograph. 8 x 10 inches.

Stills in Fear. Polly Nance. Digital photograph. 8 x 10 inches.

Stilled Absent-Mindedness. Polly Nance. Digital photograph. 8 x 10 inches.

The Self and Camera Operate Via Light and Shadow. Polly Nance. Digital photograph. 8 x 10 inches.

Stilled and Mirrored Nothingness. Polly Nance. Digital photograph. 8 x 10 inches.





28 thoughts on “Titled Mirror Stills: Self-Portraitature Take III

  1. It’s been a long time since I’ve had the chance to check in on what you have been working on…. I have been missing out! These are WONDERFUL! I love the creativity and the mood. Really cool! šŸ™‚

  2. These are awfully cool! They remind me a little of the time I took photos of my daughter through one of those cone shaped toys with prisms at the end that make anything you look at, appear kaliedoscopic.

    You have an very artistic eye. I liked these.

    • Thanks! I was definitely going for Hitchcock… so glad you made that connection. I wasn’t sure how much text to write to accompany these images but I probably should have mentioned more about the film influence… thus, the need for them to be in black and white. Thanks as always for your thoughtful feedback! šŸ™‚

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