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A course in Personal Vision & Photography A course in Personal Vision & Photography
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    Digital photography workshop, Ottawa, Ontario    
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In today's world of individualism and smartphones, auto-portraiture in almost epidemic. Dispite this, the self portrait has a long history. Probably the first self portaits were made as cave art by prehistoric humans. It seems that we have always had a need to portray our selves as a means of defining our identity and recording our personal history. This self imagery is probably the only vehicule available to preserve some aspect of ourselves beyond mortality!

In this workshop, you will study the history, aesthetics, psychology and practice of the self portrait as a photographic genre. You will analyze the images and writings of noted photographers such as Cindy Sherman, Arno Minkkenin, Raphael Goldchain, Robert Mapplethorpe, Francesca Woodman, Arthur Tress, Ralph Eugene Meatyard and Brooke Shanden to establish an understanding and appreciation of self portraiture. This knowledge will then be applied to practice, where you will bring together the Me (the subject), the Myself (the image-maker) and the I (the self expression) to produce a portfolio of narrative self-images. Your Personal Vision, your ability to see and express something that only you can see, because it comes from within yourself, is primodrial in this exercise. The images may be of any nature, direct, reflections, shadows and even metaphores.


You are expected to have mastered the basic craft of photography, have a working knowledge and experience with computers and Photoshop or other image editing software. You must have at your disposition suitable photographic equipment and a computer with image editing software in order to prepare your images for presentation in class. Demo image editing software will be provided where required. If you wish to use conventional photographs, they must be scanned into a digital format.

Workshop Outline

This workshop is usually presented in 6 three-hour sessions.

Photography Workshop Activities
Session 1 What is Self-Portraiture
   Personal Visual Narrative
Self-Portrait Forms and Styles
   Realist - Direct vs Indirect
   Surrealist & Metaphoric
Session 2 Discussion of Photographers and their Self Portaits
Discussion of Photographic Method & Technique
Session 3 Defining your Self Portrait Project
   Motivations and personal psychology
   Self Expression
   Personal Visual Narratives
   Personal Style
   Photographic Method & Technique
Session 4 First look at photographic work - discussion of images
    in relation to defined projects
Group and one-on-one tutorials, appreciation and
Session 5 Continuation of appreciation of photographic work
Group and one-on-one tutorials and coaching
Discussion of visual narrative, sequencing and
    presentation of work
Session 6 Final presentations - Group appreciation and discussion

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