By Ron Cowie
A successful self-portrait reveals and nurtures a relationship. The first is the relationship to self, and the second is the relationship to the viewer. Everyone has an image they like to present to the world. The self-portrait I made was done in my darkroom. I want to be perceived as a competent photographer and artist. I am surrounded by the tools of my trade and evidence of my work. I want you to see these things and translate that into an identity that conveys knowledge and experience. The message underneath that message is, "I need to be surrounded by my stuff to be validated as an artist. I, alone, am not enough."
So a self-portrait reveals what we want to show the world, but what we choose to show speaks about us as well. What are our values, hopes, and interests? Do we like ourselves? What are our favorite parts of ourselves? How do we want to be seen?
Almost all of the entries spoke to these questions. Some were witty, some thoughtful, others revealing in their mystery. While I factored in photographic competence, I also gave a lot of credit for the honest image with a little clunk around the edges. All of the chosen images invited me to ask a question or two. I like that. Successful images always leave the light on in the kitchen.
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