Self Absented Portraiture- Some thoughts

This section of the reading as posed some interesting and challenging ideas, indeed notions of the portray, the role of the photograph and the photographer appear to be far more tenuous. Although I have much uncertainty, such challenge to the orthodox are helpful and although I struggled with some of the work referred to in this section, it is all part of the learning journey.

Sophie Calle’s ‘Take care of yourself ‘ felt more autobiographical, although the idea of a third party or proxy standing in for the subject does I think extend the concept of the self portrait. This is an abstract idea and in thinking about the traditional definitions of the portrait, this work seems to be at the margins of the genre.

Reviewing the work of Kapajeva, in particular ‘A portrait of the artists a young women’ did shed some helpful insight into the idea of the self absented portrait. Originally from Estonia and a photographers who has explored a variety of themes relating to women, identity and migration. This work explores women with whom the artist identifies and feels some link. in this sense the portrait is more about capturing strength, experience and biography that might say something about the photographer as an individual but traits and similarities seen in others. Again there is something of the abstract about this approach and  I am still thinking through the implications and meamning of this work and this approach to the portrait. Lots of ideas though for a more oblique presentation for my next assignment.


Copyright Maria Kapajeva


Kapajeva, M. -Portrait of the artist as a young woman found at: ( Accessed November 2016)


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