Self Portraits – with a purpose!

I think at some point, all photographers have turned the lens around towards themselves, either to practice technique or maybe just to muck around. I’ve done both!

Disclaimer: The pictures in this post were taken yesterday in the same park as the purple flower trees. As I said in the rules, images must be posted within 1 day of being captured. That gives me some flexibility to take a day off and focus on other parts of my life!

I’ve been working on a powerpoint presentation for work where I go over some of the basics of a great book that I read a while back; Crucial Conversations. It was a part of the professional library when I worked for lululemon athletica. Currently I’m working as a casual teacher at a school, and I offered to lead a short professional development session about this subject for the staff (I didn’t plan on offering it, but inspiration struck and I went with it!). I’ve already asked the library to buy the book to add to their collection as well!

Why did I commit to something before knowing how I was going to achieve it? Recenty a friend from lululemon did a great blog post about Living your Dream. It is something I’ve heard before, but he put it in a way that motivated me to recommit to living my life in that way!

In order to make the presentation more interesting, I figured I’d add some images to spice things up a bit. Often times people will just peruse the web and take images from there (often without permission however…), but as a photographer, it’s a great opportunity to add to your portfolio and improve your techniques!

I set up my tripod in my van, as it was raining and I didn’t want to get the camera wet. I then used my wireless remote to set off the camera. All of the images are between 1/160 and 1/400 sec at f1.8, ISO 200.

So the purpose was to take some pictures to add an element of silliness while still getting the points across. I had three different types of emotions I needed portrayed in the presentation: Violence (Anger), Silence (Contempt, Disinterest) and Nervousness (Fear-ish). The first two are concepts from the book while the third is to break the ice near the beginning of the presentation. The images also had to be cropped to a certain format in order to fit in properly with the presentation.

 So here’s the set. As you can see, Movember is in full swing…. ;-P

Violence: I chose a tight crop to bring the anger right to the viewer.



Silence: This was a very difficult capture. I had one that where I was much further back with my arms crossed which gave the right body signals. However, the face was in anger, and so I thought it would be too close to “Violence”. Also I wanted to show that Silence isn’t necessarily a active emotion, it can be a passive disconnection between people. I chose the picture where I wasn’t making eye contact with the camera to show disinterest in connecting with the viewer.



Nervousness: This was a a tough one as well, since many of the faces I made showed fear more than nervousness.



Plus, I’ve always loved making silly faces ever since I was a kid! We still make a whole family silly face portrait every Christmas! ;-P

Hmmmm…. perhaps I’ll make that one of the challenges….

I’m planning on posting the first challenge in the next week, so stay tuned and tell all your photographer friends if you think they’d be interested! 🙂



3 Comments on “Self Portraits – with a purpose!”

  1. Matt Corker says:

    I laughed when I saw your silence picture. It reminds me of the silence once found in a boring morning lecture in my undergrad. Keep on LTDing!

  2. vk says:

    I love these.
    I started reading that book, please share the pp presentation eventually…

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