The Self-Portrait (or How to Deal With a Problem Subject)

I was speaking with the amazing Anya Downing of Engage Marketing Design ( last week and we were looking over my website. Among other things, she wondered about my portrait on my Info page, commenting that it was not my usual style. Well, I told her, my son took it. Considering the subject with whom he had to work, it's a great photo, as are others from the shoot. But she was right, the photo is his style, and although he is not (yet) a studio shooter, he creates exceptional photos in his own style.

I began thinking about whether I wanted to address this self-portrait issue. I do tend to internalize most anything that is said to me and about me from someone whose opinion I value, so off I went.

Self-portraits, as most anyone will tell you, can be difficult. I find my self-portrait subject to be generally uncooperative, and I have some difficulty having him not "pose". I've tried different things...

Western Avenue Studios, Lowell, Massachusetts - 2007

Westford, Massachusetts - 2007

After using this shot (above) for a while, I did a semi-environmental portrait, in my living room (right). But after a while, my son informed me that this was not up to my usual standards. I am paraphrasing ;-)

Then there was the shot below that I created for a group art show in Lowell. I think I would call this a self-portraits [sic].

Western Avenue Studios, Lowell, Massachusetts - 2009

Or there is always the action shot...

Western Avenue Studios, Lowell, Massachusetts - 2010

So yesterday, I needed to do a shot of my studio for another purpose, and I decided to put myself into the scene...

Western Avenue Studios, Lowell, Massachusetts - 2010

Ok. So what would I do for some other middle-aged guy who wears jeans and has no delusions about looking anything like George Clooney... Simple. I'd go with dramatic lighting, black background, no props, no chair, little to no retouch.