Book Review, Auto Focus: The Self-Portrait in Contemporary Photography by Susan Bright
As photographers, when people mention self portraits its not long before people mention Cindy Sherman and her work, in particular ‘film stills’. Yes, I have been a great admirer of her work for many years but I do think that it tends to overshadow the work of other artists who do self portraits. She seems to be to self-portraits what Ansel Adams is to landscape photography.
When I heard Chino Otsuka talk (Blog post here) in Coventry last year I was starting to realise that there are many other photographers out there who are doing self portraits.
I recently managed to get hold of a book called ‘Auto Focus: The Self-Portrait in Contemporary Photography’ by Susan Bright. For anybody even remotely interested in self portraits then this book is a must. The book features the images of seventy five of the worlds foremost contemporary photographers. To compliment the images, there is a brief explanation about what the artist was trying to say. As with all books such as this they lead us to look at the work of other photographers. I found the self portraits of Airyka Rockefeller and Ananke Asseff the most inspiring. Their self portraits seemed to reflect a state of mind. Something maybe not so easy to encapsulate within an image. Very thought provoking indeed.
Self portraits are not something which I have based much of my work on. As a photographer, my instant reaction is to pick up the camera and point it at my subject rather than at myself. This book however has inspired me to embark on such a task. Yes, I intend to do a series of self portraits.