'Il ne me déplait pas de poser nu'
Over the last couple of years I have found more and more artists who as part of their art, do self portraits. One of the first was DirtRoad, a FH favorite who models for other photographers as well as for his own visual creations. My post earlier this month on model and self portrait artist Jacob Dillon had me heading back to the work of photographer and model Saki and his sensually infused self portraits.
I first featured Saki in 2015 with a focus on his work both in front of, and behind the camera shooting both other models as well as himself. I went on to feature Saki again last year with some of my favorite of his more recent self portraits. Selfies are now common, and the term, and the practice, is more often an act of vanity rather than art. Not that selfies can't be artistic, but to me art is in part about intent. There is a different feel and intent with self portraits.
There is a surprisingly lack of vanity in the images of most of the artists who do self portraits. Saki shared the first time I profiled him, that he didn't turn the camera on himself to promote his modeling or his look, but more as a way to work on his art at times he wasn't able to find a model to shoot. The creating process with self portraits however, can become a bit of a compulsion, shooting more and more to see how far you can push yourself creatively as an artist.
This can be especially rewarding when exploring a passion which often depends so much on how your perceived and accepted by others. There are many photographers looking to shoot, and pay hot 19 year old models who are willing to take off all of their clothes. But if you're not 19 or not physically perfect, you may find it harder to find others to collaborate with. Even if you are 19, interest can wain the more you shoot and share.
There is a beautiful intimacy with self portraits that isn't always possible with the addition of a second person. It mirrors the same intimacy we often have when alone, without any concern with how another may feel or react to seeing, and being with us. The feelings are not so much selfish, but freeing, being able to express our desires in a both a safe, and creative way. The risk then becomes not the image taking, but the image sharing, and the reactions from others. When I recently returned to Saki's portfolio, I found he had a brand new site to share his beautiful self portraits and my reaction, was the desire to share more of my favorites.