Hiding from the camera for the camera: the photographer-subject in self-portraiture

2017-02-21T23:19:37Z (GMT) by Fahd, Cherine
When a photographer points the camera at a subject other than him or herself a series of subtle exchanges are activated. This exegesis investigates the theoretical, socio-cultural and creative issues associated with such exchanges, as a way of contextualising my own photographic portraiture. The act of looking, being looked at and posing initiates my interest in well-known notions of power, disclosure and self-presentation that characterise the interchange between photographer and subject. However, I argue that while such notions offer a theoretical framework for analysing the complexity of photographer-subject relations in photographic portraiture, they fall short of accounting for the dynamics of photographer and subject in self-portraiture. In the practice of self-portraiture,the photographer-subject nexus is rarely scrutinised in terms of power – since the voluntary act of pointing a camera at oneself implies the photographer’s readiness to ‘play’ subject. My project – my studio work and this exegesis – examine the often peculiar dynamics between photographer and subject in self-portraiture more closely. Through my own strategy of hiding from the camera I argue that the assumption of a unity between photographer and subject in self-portraiture breaks down.