Monash University

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

posted on 2017-02-21, 23:19 authored 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.


Campus location


Principal supervisor

Daniel Palmer

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Fine Art


Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type



Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture

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