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The “selfie” really came into its own in 2013 with word mavens finally giving it a place in the dictionary. The year probably saw the best of such self-expression which my friend Dave duly recorded in his curation of the best, worst, & funniest selfies of 2013. The Kim Kardashians of the world can get away with non-artsy but “arse-y” selfies, but the rest of the world has to put some thought into self-portrait shots and make sure there’s something more than a mirror involved for the sake of creativity.
Yes, there is a right way to take self-shots; but more than that there is an imaginatively creative way to make the world sit up and look at you. If you do it right, the selfie is elevated to the high art of self-portraiture. These seven creative selfie (and self-portrait) photography projects could inspire you to think out of the box and come up with your own.
Less of a project and more of a do-good movement. The “Unselfie” was started by Nicolas Bordas (President of Being Worldwide) with a LinkedIn post. The initiative was in response to the massive destruction caused by the Haiyan typhoon in Philippines. The vanity of a selfie was turned around into a call for charity by simply asking people to half-obscure their faces by holding up a piece of paper with the URL of the donation page to send aid. It spread virally on Twitter and Instagram.
Yes, we can all do this. Why haven’t we? Probably because our city doesn’t have the 100+ subway stations that Manhattan has. More probably, it didn’t strike us. James Doernberg and Kai Jordan are a young couple and their selfie project is as much about love as it is about some crazy stamina. They covered the 118 stations and managed to snap a shot at each stop. It took them about nine hours to cover the circuit; it will take you much less to view the online gallery and read about their station hopping.
The photographs here could stun you into unbelieving awe. It certainly did that to me, and probably many others when the world discovered it a year back on Reddit. The mesmerizing photos show clearly the difference between a smartphone captured selfie and an artistically done self-portrait. Most of the photos are shot in forests and abandoned homes; probably that’s why the loneliness comes through the surrealism. And Kyle Thomson is just 21.
The screenshot is from his Flickr gallery.
From one kind of surrealism, we go to another. Alex Deforest and his self-portraits are an example of how you can mix one photography technique with another and come up with something totally different. Light paintings are fun to create because you can experiment and still get great results because of the interplay between light against the darkness. Alex Deforest says – “Due to my somewhat shy nature, most of my light paintings are abstract self-portraits.”
The screenshot is from his Flickr gallery.
If you are ever inspired by Gulliver’s Travels, then you can see how you can turn it into its photographic equivalent by following Paul Armstrong’s work. The photographer from Ohio tweaked his selfies into two separate projects – and the theme is apparent – Big Me and Little Me. The selfie projects went viral on the Web this year. The photographs show him around his house doing everyday stuff…but with a twist. It is trick photography, and really seems like hard work. But then nobody said that creativity was going to be easy!
Wes Naman [No Longer Available]
Bizarre – yes. This one should hurt. The good thing is that you can probably set up a similar selfie project yourself. The Rubber Band Project followed the photographer’s earlier efforts with Scotch Tape. The photos show musicians wearing band T-shirts with faces contorted by rubber bands. A profile done by Wired.com goes into the motivation, and also includes a video which shows the process of tying up music band members with rubber bands. Also, do check out his complete portfolio.
You might mistake them for Photoshopped self-portraits. But the Korean photographer has taken a more painstaking approach to showcase her own dreamscapes. Every photo is set up by hand in her own room before she positions herself within the frame. Each imaginary world sometimes takes weeks or months to create. Her profile description states that she draws inspiration from her heart, her memory, or her dreams. There are also elements of Korean folk tales thrown in. Her beautiful yet surreal art could easily be called “dream photography”.
The smartphone might have abbreviated the art of self-portraiture to selfies, but there’s no denying the fact that it takes oodles of creativity to make a success out of both. The distinction in terminology is thin, but the talent required for a memorable photo isn’t.
These original projects take some part technical skill and a large block of ingenuity. If you have started learning about photography, these are indeed inspirational. After all, if you have nothing to shoot, you can always shoot your own self. So, tell us about your successes and failures with the art of self-portraits (selfies), and any awe-inspiring examples of the best you have spotted so far.
Image Credit: Pixabay