She Shoots Film


Film Photography By Women

International Women's Day - Self Portrait

International Women's Day


A heart felt thank you to all the incredible women that have submitted to the IWD: Self Portrait call out from She Shoots Film.

We feel utterly grateful to those of you that have put yourselves out there – submitting a self portrait or series of self portraits is by no means an easy feat. In contemporary culture, ‘selfies’ overwhelm us. Using film and/or alternative processes to produce a self portrait in the culture we inhabit has an inherent ‘difference’. There is less immediacy and no direct feedback of what we have made in that moment. We use our film cameras to make the self portrait – in some cases using a cable release, while at other times employing a self timer (if available on the camera) or props such as a mirror. Then we develop and wait. We wait to see our self and what we have made. We do not have an opportunity to see if we like it or if we don’t – therefore nullifying the opportunity to shoot selfie after selfie, until we like one – if we ever do.

Diane Arbus once said,

“I think it does, a little, hurt to be photographed.”

And yes, there is perhaps even some hurt involved when we photograph ourselves in this way. But with it, we can in some instances, also see a sliver of light that provides acceptance, celebration and growth.

To face yourself in the lens, to meet it head on, in a meaningful and thoughtful way, is to face one of your most critical subjects – You.

To show the world takes courage – to face our fears, to find our self in an image or to celebrate our self can take courage or a unique some thing else.

"The pursuit of the elusive self, it seems, never ends" (Spalding, The Guardian, March, 2014). Regardless of the passage of time, the experiences or knowledge we may gain, maybe this is how it will always be. The representation of our self, that moment where we realise the image, may always be an elusive encounter, an elusive type of attempt at self recognition. Despite this elusiveness though, we push through and make some incredible imagery with our medium and vision.

Please see below the ten (plus one) entries that were successful in being shortlisted for this post.

Words attached to each image have been created by the artist and provide insight into their thought process, ideas, approach or action in regard to their self portrait(s).

"In the very beginning of my learning about photography experimenting with self portraits was like an exciting game with unimagined possibilities opened, game which eventually morphed into a kind of personal ritual, it become constant examination of my own being in relation to physical and spiritual, real and imaginary space, tracking and recording of various mental states and moods, exploring the subconscious and discovering hidden in the misty areas between what we consider reality and dreams...

I often use long exposure in my attempt to decompose and show the circulation of energies within myself that are once powerful, driving, creative and feminine, and sometimes dark and heavy, withdrawn, slow and destructive.

Vibration of the soul is what I'm trying to make visible on film. I don't think I'm there yet but that's definitely the goal I seek." ~ Vedrana Mijic

Artists work can be viewed here.

"This image is an Untitled image from the series Renaissance.  While suffering my first real heartbreak after the end of a long-term relationship, and re-examining so many of my beliefs as a result, I returned to the cabin of my birth and took self-portraits in the bed in which I was born. My first work in self-portraits, this process was terrifying and -- ultimately -- healing.  These images were shot with a 35mm camera and the negatives were then hand-enlarged using ortholith film.  They were then contact printed in multiple gum-bichromate on hand-sized paper." Yaro Shon Neils

Artists work can be viewed here.

"Do not quit. You see, the most constant state of an artist is uncertainty. You must face confusion, self-questioning, dilemma. Only amateurs are confident … be prepared to live with the fear of failure all your art life." ~ W. O. Mitchell

Artists work can be viewed here.

"Trying to escape from being me and still clinging on to life as a photographer." ~ Rose-marie Westling

Artists work can be viewed here.

"This image is from a series related to the widespread practice of taking selfies with the nineteenth century photographic process of wet plate collodion.

Wet plates and smartphones have had a huge impact on the depiction of the self, increasing the awareness of, and the desire to, control image making processes in different time periods. The image maker explores the photographic possibilities to create and share images that relate to their everyday life, environment and identity: What could be called visual narratives of the self." Almudena Romero

Artists work can be viewed here.

"While I consider these pictures as self portraits, they all were made in collaboration with my partner. Together we examined the relationship triangle: man, camera, and woman. Does the dynamic change when the model is the artist's partner? Who becomes the creator and who becomes the model? These ties become more complicated when we are both in the frame. Sometimes we change roles, sometimes we are both. With my partner, I explore how the collaboration impacts my work, when each of us has a voice, needs, dependencies, and mutual responsibilities. Our roles are tangled and shaped in the process of art-making. The most intimate moment that would never normally occur becomes possible when we are both naked in the photograph and in the relationship." ~ Anna Yeroshenko

Artists work can be found here.

*Note: This self portrait is a part of a larger series of self portraits which contain images of the artists partner.

"I have a friend with a disability similar to mine, just two fingers on one hand, and she spent a lot of years subconsciously hiding her hand in sleeves and pockets and under tables. I never thought about my hand enough to hide it, subconsciously or not, but it did surprise me when I’d see it in pictures. It looked out of place, abnormal and grotesque. It was startling considering I generally saw myself as normal. So I've been working to accept my hand as a part of me visually. It’s abnormal, sure. But it’s also unique and inextricably mine." ~ Maria Ovsyankina

"As an artist, I am most drawn to silver-based and antique photographic processes. I appreciate the quantity of labor and time needed to complete these types of images and I enjoy the tactile quality of the resulting work. These images were shot with a medium format film camera (Mamiya RB). The photographs are aluminum plates with hand-applied emulsion. This process includes preparing the metal, hand-coating warmed plates, and printing on the plates in a traditional darkroom. Due to these steps, each plate is unique and imperfect.

These self-portraits are inspired by my personal history and interest in the natural world. They are influenced by my memories and dreams. These images deal with identity and represent relationships between the human subjects and their animal counterparts. The visual style is reminiscent of 19th century portrait photography. The images depict a subversion of a tradition portrait likeness; rather than revealing the subject, they are hiding the subject. The mask is a façade, however, the mask defines the subject’s identity. The sculpted masks represent animals, which are commonly symbolic of strength, courage, and prowess. The subject wearing the mask is female. The intent of this juxtaposition is to question perceptions of identity within the context of gender." ~ Linda Marie Wilson

Artists work can be viewed here.

"The life of a twin in their younger years is all about comparing and trying to find your own identity. This photo represents the struggle and the eventual embracement of who YOU are instead of who your twinsister is and how you think you should be. And even then, being behind the camera doesn't mean you cannot be in front. Being more introvert, doesn't mean you cannot be extrovert. The one doesn't exclude the other. For us, we realised it is all about embracement. When you embrace your pure self, you are able to be happy for your sister, for the things you might not have, and envy her in a healthy way. Observe yourself, not the other. See yourself in the mirror, instead of mirroring yourself to the other. Then you can both live in peace and happily together." ~ Marjolein Van der Klaauw

Artists work can be viewed here.

Untitled, 2014.

Artists work can be viewed here.

"This image came about simply because I was wearing a vintage dress at work, where we became the temporary home to an Airstream trailer and old red truck. I figured not grabbing a Rollei and making a portrait would have been a wasted opportunity." ~ Katt Janson

Artists work can be viewed here.