I think the taking of selfies has been the most difficult part of the course. Almost like ‘home cooking’ week on Masterchef – I only had myself and a camera to work with. But with a few tips from the references given in class and a bit of play time I’m happy with the range of images I’ve taken.
Our task was to choose to take selfies that portray our identity as ourselves or professional brand. I’ve chosen to portray a bit of a mix of both because although I have a ‘brand’ in my Purple Salt blog & Instagram, it is so much a part of me. I share a large variety of images on my Instagram and have had difficulty focussing on one thing or another as my interests are so broad.
Sourcing inspiration images for selfies was a little challenging as they aren’t the types of images I usually take a lot of notice of unless I’m interested in the subject for some reason. Consequently, I’ve gone searching for inspiration from the people I know and follow online. I’ve followed each of these women for many years and enjoy the way they put themselves in the frame and provide personality to their personal brand.
Jane Davenport, @janedavenport
Over the years Jane has become my art mentor and friend and I enjoy her fun approach to art making. Spending time with Jane gives you some insight into selfie taking – she takes many opportunities for a selfie to document her life & will try different expressions, head tilts etc to get them just right. Her joy at creating art and being a professional artist, love of life at home with her dogs & beautiful beach are captured at every turn.
Julie Fei-Fan Balzer, @balzerdesigns
Julie is an artist with a full-on creative life and she takes her followers along for the ride. Julie isn’t afraid of playing up to the camera regardless of being in a serious art gallery or at home in front of her camera.
Sue B Zimmerman, @theinstagramexpert
Sue is the Energizer bunny of the Instagram world and I love her style of clear communication, keeping herself and her brand in front of her audience at all times and continuing to provide free information about social media & online interaction, in particular Instagram.
Sue has carefully researched the way her audience reacts to her selfies, right down to ‘do people prefer her mouth open or closed’ in an image! I love her happy and fun style of selfie making.
Pip Lincoln, Meet Me at Mikes, www.meetmeatmikes.com
Pip has been an inspiration to me since I first began blogging many years ago. She was one of the first Aussies to run a craft blog that was highly successful and Pip did it by just writing about the everyday life of a creative person. Pip continues to be an inspiration to me and I’ve been able to take online blogging classes with her which have added to my understanding of the social world.
Chantelle Ellem, Fat Mum Slim, @fatmumslim
Chantelle is the creator of the daily Fat Mum Slim Photo A Day Challenge and I’ve been participating on & off for about four years. It’s a daily prompt to take photos of all different types and comes with a wonderful creative community on Instagram and Facebook. Chantelle’s images are instantly recognisable to me and full of fun and colour.
Over the past year, Chantelle has written about how she struggles with self image and doesn’t put herself in the frame enough, photos with her young family were avoided and media opportunities in front of a camera were passed on. But that is changing and I’ve admiring how she is including more of herself in her social media feed.
Other Selfie Inspiration
Brisbane played host to an exhibition by Cindy Sherman last year and I was lucky to go along a couple of times. Cindy took many photographs of herself in a variety of personas as a way of telling her stories. While her imagery is not something I particularly like, perhaps because the perceived narcissism & unattractiveness of some of them makes me feel uncomfortable, I can admire the techniques used for image making.
Cindy took great care in costumes, hairstyles and makeup and when to great lengths to transform her face and shape through prosthetics and padded suits. Backdrops and composition carefully leads the viewer to the intention behind the image – sympathy for a woman aging not so gracefully, envy of the woman posed wearing glamorous clothes, sheer distrust in her series of weird looking clowns.
I learned from gallery staff that Cindy gave very particular details on how the exhibition was to be organised and arranged, down to the colour of the walls the photos were displayed on.
Experiments in creative selfies
When I first joined the online world, I chose to create an image that represented myself at the time and used that for many years as a profile photo. In recent years, I started to meet some of my online friends and I realised that I really did want people to know what I looked like. This led to a couple of carefully composed headshot images that worked well. To switch it up and shoot a few creative selfies was a fun exercise.
Here are a few of my initial experiments in selfie making –
I like to inspire others to be creative and adventurous through my art and photography so finding ways to convey this was an interesting exercise. The first thing I did was to scroll through the photos I’ve taken over the past six months or so and look at the ones that have made it onto my Instagram. I wanted to work out why I shared some images over others and see if there was any pattern to my choices.
During the initial weeks of the course, I was quite busy so a weekend away at Kingscliffe provided an opportunity to take some images of being creative at the beach. I love to be able to get in some creative time while travelling, something about being away from my usual space sharpens my creativity.
Over the past few years I’ve been lucky to travel to different cities and countries for my art and that has come through strongly in the types of images I’ve made. My art journal, paint palette and a peek at my view gives people a good idea of where I’m at in that moment and a window into what I love to do while travelling. I’ve been using these types of images as a record of where and when but also how my arting in public places has changed.
To explore a creative selfie was a harder task, keeping a lookout for well placed mirrors and shadows seemed an obvious but also creative way of making a start. The strong morning light at our local dog park provided a good opportunity for some cool ones with my whippets. I tend to take endless images of them while we are at the park but rarely include myself. They aren’t the type of dogs who sit quietly on a lap for a photo.
I took this pair of images in Hosier Lane, Melbourne and I love the colour and busyness of them. Getting a sense of place by holding up a piece of yummy food or coffee tells the story of where I am and an idea of what I’m doing.
This part of the course had me pondering how to possibly represent my brand in imagery and I’ve come up with a bit of a list:
- Journals, stacked and open pages
- Action shots
- Work in progress
- Inspiration sources
- Magazines that I love
- Selfie pics with friends
Pictures of my brand ‘self’ might could also be broken into four categories:
- Colours – turquoise, magenta and orange
- Locations – beach, parks, art studio, while travelling
- Props – supplies, while teaching, sharing a group creative experience
- Cropping – tight, detailed oriented, lots of light
I plan on working though this list to assemble a range of imagery that I can use online.
It’s funny, I’ve used a bunch of mood boards over the years for creative prompts but never created one for myself. It was fun to scroll through images on my Pinterest and favourite blogs to see what sparked interest.
Assembling a board for myself as Purple Salt was quite straightforward once I’d created the one using other images. I think this collection represents me well as an artist, I’ve included my colour palette in the form of images from my journals and a peek at the types of things I enjoy creating in my journal and the types of images I enjoy using in the butterflies and vintage French dictionary paper.
N.B. Mood boards created with templates provided by Nesha Woolery.
What makes my imagery stand out from others?
I think my imagery stands out due to the strong colours and overall brightness. I like to use strong imagery that is usually tightly cropped and full of pattern and luscious textures.