2018 was about rediscovery and being fearless.
It wasn’t intentional, but somehow it seemed the most logical thing to do. It wasn’t so much as redefining who I am, as realigning the values I have as an artist and photographer along with all the other familiar hats I wear as well. It was about cultivating and nurturing my voice - a creative voice - and safeguarding it from the self-doubts or voices that goes on externally and keeps us staying within our comfort zone. As an artist, I believe in showing authenticity as well as pushing the boundaries of our vision and creativity. I believe I more than did so last year.
Self-portraiture and P52radness
Last year, I continued my journey in self-portraiture with the P52radness group. This group has been instrumental in bringing together a supportive network of female artists to see the value of self-portraits and get themselves in front of the lens. It was a pleasure to watch some of these ladies grow and to see their artistry. They are breaking their own preconceptions of what self-portraiture is about, which invites us to look deeper within ourselves, explore vulnerability and truly embrace who we are.
When I first got involved with the P52 project, my intention was to create images with my children so I am in the frame with them and have photographs to show I was there too. I get incredibly sentimental and nostalgic over long-forgotten moments, and photographs are one way to bring back the memory of a loved one.
This last year though I had to admit that my self-portraits were more an exploration of my self, my emotions and the voice I wanted to express inside. I was ok with that. More than anything I found self-portraiture helped me to connect with my emotions and understand myself, which is important to me as an artist. You don’t get the full story unless you know the person behind the images, and part of me, is the creative - the artist. My children will have images that show that side of me, and I am also proud to say, a few of my portraits have made its way into publications, including the very recent announcement of the Click & Co Voice Collection.
Through the themed self-portrait challenges in our P52radness group, I pushed myself ever harder, creatively and technically, than I did before. I learnt new things along the way. Above all, I learnt to share a story and a voice that is authentically my own.
2018 collection of self-portraits
Below are some of the portraits of me made last year.
Several artists have connected together to share our journeys and self-portraits in a blog circle. If you want to see more incredible self-portraits, go to Melissa Ortendahl Photography the next artist and follow the circle until you reach back to me.
Starting your own self-portraits
For those who are considering to embark on giving self-portraits a go, you might find these two guides I wrote helpful: You, Your photos, Your legacy | Part I: Self-portraiture & getting in the frame of your family photos and Part II: SIX fun & creative ideas to get in your family photos and show your kids you were there too. Feel free to ask me any questions about making self-portraits in the comment boxes below or send me an email - if you are willing to share about your journey in self-portraiture I’d love to hear from you.