Exercise 3.10 – A Formal Portrait – Planning – Self Portrait -Gender – Identity


This is a scary one for me because I am going to need to make this a self-portrait. As you are aware I do not have anyone that I can work with on this, and although I had initially considered working with one or two people who I know who are homeless, my mental health currently leaves me unable to approach people.

I have anxiety about revealing myself, so I am going to build upon my tutors feedback with regard to assignment two. She suggested that I explore identity by making portraits of people and by using masks where possible.

The brief is quite specific about what a formal portrait is, and I am choosing to break away from it a little, otherwise I will not be able to complete the exercise. I hate my face right now, so I cannot create a formal portrait of myself in which my face is revealed, it wouldn’t help my mental health.

So I am going to create a multi layered approach that will include the use of masks, clothing, and current books and camera, to explore questions around gender identity along with practice representations of my current lifestyle. The use of masks will mean that I am breaking away from the brief and also respecting my needs with regard to keeping my mental wellbeing as well as I can.

The photos in this post are self portraits that I have taken in a manner that I can cope with sharing with others.

Richard Keys

10 Replies to “Exercise 3.10 – A Formal Portrait – Planning – Self Portrait -Gender – Identity”

  1. Rules are made to be broken so I think not following the brief is fine . You need to be comfortable with what you do and I think these self portraits are absolutely fine , they reveal but also conceal . In everyday life we all do this , only allowing others to see what we want them to see .

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Judy is so right Richard, she has said it all. The photograph you have created is interesting and has depth. Great to look at. I am told most photographers prefer to be behind the lens!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting images Richard and comments from Judy and Sarah with which I fully agree. When I was working one of my tasks was in a sales role meeting a variety of people in various roles from design engineers, R&D engineers to business owners etc., I used to change my dress style and I was also conscious that my demeanour changed depending upon who I was meeting, so I was creating a mask appropriate to the situation I was in. We all do it. I hope your shoot goes well and look forward to seeing the pictures, although I guess you have probably done them by now as I am so late with these comments!

    Liked by 2 people

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