Of all the mediums I dabble in, photography is the one that resides fiercely in my heart. I’ve been taking photos since I was a teenager, and even ended up going to school for digital photography and design. Through some required assignments, I took some photos of myself that I liked for the first time. That little spark of confidence lit a passionate love for self-portrait photography.
Self-portrait photography is more purposeful than a selfie and requires a little more work, creativity, and imagination. It’s art. Not that a selfie can’t be art, there’s obviously an exception to most rules, but there is a difference between the two.
When I first started sharing my self-portrait work, I was often asked who was taking the photos of me. I appreciated that my work didn’t look like selfies, but I was also a little annoyed that folks just assumed my husband took them.
There are myriad reasons why I adore self-portrait photography. It allows me to recreate myself in many different ways and has profoundly affected my self-esteem and sense of self in general. I’ve been able to view myself and my body from new perspectives, and that gives me the confidence to keep pushing myself past what started as a very small comfort zone when it comes to photos of myself.
It’s also a way for me to practice being not so serious or self-conscious. Which doesn’t come naturally to me, even by myself. I’m able to try new things without any fear of looking silly, or ugly. I am not concerned about what I look like trying to get a shot, and that is not the case when someone else is holding the camera.
And it’s a unique challenge to capture compelling images of yourself, technically speaking. The whole process really appeals to me. Coming up with the concept, the set design, the lighting, the hair, the makeup, the wardrobe, the props, the timing, the location, the color pallet, how I plan on editing, etc. There really is a lot to it. Seeing something come together that I planned from nothing more than a thought in my head is pretty good for my confidence. It always feels like such an accomplishment and makes me proud of the work that I’ve done.
This week, I’m going to share some of the tools and accessories I’ve found over the years that make my life easier when I’m shooting self-portraits.
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Nikki is a photographer, writer, artist, and advocate of radical self-love. She writes about mental health, gaming, sex, and inclusivity.