In these self portraits, the artists turn the tables and become their own subjects. Let the unusual and somewhat comedic compositions inspire you to “Caption This!”
Like all portraiture, self-portraiture serves many purposes, from advertisements for an artist’s skill to experimentation with new techniques and new mediums. Most of all self-portraiture provides artists a unique opportunity for introspection and self-exploration.
Renowned twentieth-century lithographer Prentiss Taylor created this self-portrait in 1949 as a requirement for admission into the National Academy of Design. The four intertwining faces capture Taylor’s concern with artistic perspective as well as his fascination with the human mind. He was deeply interested in the connection between art and psychiatry, and published the article, “Art as Psychotherapy,” in the American Journal of Psychiatry in 1950. In this image, Taylor chose to portray himself from various physical profiles, each one characterizing a different introspective mood.
Legendary photographer for Life magazine, Alfred Eisenstaedt is probably best known for his iconic image VJ Day, The Kiss. Eisenstaedt worked almost entirely with miniature cameras and is known for his use of the fast lens technique and exclusive use of natural light. His ability to capture candid moments in history is revered and he often explained, “I just kept motionless like a statue. For the kind of photography I do, one has to be very unobtrusive and to blend in with the crowd.” In his self-portrait, Eisenstaedt catches himself in the act of his own work. He poses inconspicuously as if he himself is being photographed candidly. Surrounded by steel trashcans, he crouches in a corner, holding one of his miniature cameras to his eye, waiting for action.