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  • Writer's pictureChiara

Portraits/reflections

I'm having a look at some of the portraits/self-portraits I've saved to reflect on what attracts me to them for inspiration and research:

Ilse Bing's Self Portrait with Leica, 1931 overts the complex process of reflection involved in photographic self-portraiture. The portrait is intricate, with the middle ground of the image occupied by the environment of the portrait and the dual incomplete images of Bing pushed out to the margins of the image. I am struck by the importance of Bing's eyes which are multiplied and variously prominent and concealed.


  • Irving Penn's 1986 Self-portrait in Cracked Mirror restricts itself to the face with no extraneous information about the environment or context. The face takes up the centre of the image. The mirror is only "seen" through the artifacts it produces in the face: odd highlights and distortion/repetition of facial features.
















Engy Farahat's My, Myself & Mirror, 2020 places the elaborately framed mirror in place of the face. The surrounding furnishings and jewelry echo the mirror's ornamental metalwork. The fingers point to the surface of the mirror, which however reflects a blank.

In Todd Hido's 2014 Untitled portrait the face is obscured by hands which are in turn framed by the subjects long dark hair. The unfocussed hands also serve as a lighter-toned arrow pointing to the obscured face. Ruffled cuffs on the sleeves provide the only ornamentation. The background is blank apart from a small shaft of light on the left edge of the image.















Common themes

  • faces--evident or obscured

  • reflections and distortions

  • concealment

  • divisions/angles

  • closed-cropped images

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