Self Portraits

Cindy Sherman, Untitled #118, 1983

Ilse Bing, Self portrait. My first photograph, Frankfort, 1913

Samuel Fosso, Self Portrait, 1977

Anatol Josepho, [Self-portrait of Anatol Josepho with terrier], ca. 1928-30

Blythe Bohnen, Self-Portrait: Pivotal Motion from Nose, Small, 198

In the above photographs, the photographers turn the cameras on themselves becoming their own subjects. The artists included in this collection, Cindy Sherman, Ilse Bing, Samuel Fasso, Anatol Josepho, and Blythe Bohnen all use the self portrait in strategically different ways. According to Sherman, she is nearly anonymous in her portraiture: ”When I look at the pictures, I never see myself; they aren’t self-portraits. Sometimes I disappear.”

Ilse Bing regards her own reflection with a mirror in what she claims is her first photograph, making it also the first in a series of Bing’s self portraiture via mirrors. Camaroon born, Nigerian raised artist, Samuel Fasso adds a sense of adolescent posturing to the collection with this photograph of his 15-year-old self. And Anatol Josepho let’s us see the face of the inventor responsible for the most widespread form of self portraiture, the photo booth. While Blythe Bohnen, a multidisciplinary artist who avoids calling herself a photographer, uses the camera and her own body as tools for her exploration of motion and distortion. Each of these artists enlists the form of the self portrait in their explorations, be their goal disappearance, self recognition, aggrandizement, invention or abstraction; thus showing the versatility of the form.

Nica Ross, ICP-Bard MFA 2012

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