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Celebrating Ourselves: Self-Portraits by Women and Non-Binary Photographers
Celebrating Ourselves: Self-Portraits by Women and Non-Binary Photographers
by The Luupe
From selfies to elaborately crafted self-portraits, these photographs show our many stories and celebrate our power to shape our own image.
More women* than ever before are taking commercial and editorial assignments and shaping narratives on our own terms.
For many women, non-binary and transgender photographers, self-portraiture is a means to celebrate our bodies, perspectives, and visibility.
In these self-portraits, we show our many stories, our confidence, and our vulnerability. We celebrate our power to shape our own image.
Editors' note: Have a self-portrait you'd like us to feature? Tag it on Instagram with @TheLuupe #InTheLuupe and a sentence about why it's meaningful to you. We'll add our favorites to this growing collection...
"In a world that is designed to pull my attention away from self, I take self-portraits to remind myself of my own individual inner world and how important acknowledging it is. " - Jass Durhal
"Self-portraiture is important to me because I can create a visual diary with it. In looking back on my self-portraits taken throughout the years, I learn a lot about where my interests and passions truly lie which helps me figure out where I'll go in the future." - Sage Szkabarnicki-Stuart
“ I believe that sharing your own truth is one of the most powerful things you can do as an artist, and sharing my own story openly and honestly creates space for others to share themselves with me.” - Jess T. Dugan
"My self-portraits are born in solitude, out of a feeling that becomes a need to document a moment or express a feeling I don't have words for." -Anjelica Jardiel
“I haven’t shot a self-portrait for a while, I find it very daunting, I often take silly selfies but never share it with anyone. This self-portrait is important for me as it takes me out of my comfort zone.” - Hayley Benoit
“Like most self-employed freelance photographers I've been waffling between optimism and motivation, and crushing sadness and lack of motivation. This idea had been rattling around my brain and it felt really good to get it out of my brain. I feel like I'm caught between drowning and peaceful rest…” - Jarusha Brown
"During the quarantine, I became overwhelmed with a lot of contradicting feelings. From hope to despair, anxiety to calm, feeling trapped and wanting to escape to stillness, and so on. I was stuck at home without any team to help me create a set, finding clothes, or else. I always see things with a slight conceptual mind and so I started to dream about how I could actually translate these feelings all by myself. And this is how it started! " - Djeneba Aduayom
“I started taking self-portraits during lockdown last spring. Traveling was no longer possible and spending so much time at home forced me to be creative in other ways. Since then I’ve been doing it from time to time. For me, it’s just another way of self-expression. I like it as the options are endless and I have full control on the outcome.” - Helin Bereket
"I use my body as a way to interact with the landscape and understand my surroundings. The body also acts as a reminder of our human presence as a part of nature." - Madeline Cass
"Self-portraiture is my way of creating a visual record of the different selves that I've been” - Michelle Yee
"Self-portraiture is a space I carve out to witness myself and my trans body; To take hold of my identity, to feel held, and to define my own femininity and womanhood." - June T. Sanders
"Self-portraiture is meaningful to me because I use it as a tool to process and understand the things that are going on around me and inside of me. It’s an intimate and accurate depiction of how I’m feeling at that moment in time. " - Rachel Elise Thomas
"For me, self-portraiture is about time, since photographs are always about time. I've been photographing myself with my self-portraits as backgrounds for the past 2 years and yesterday, seeing a photo series in the T Magazine of Dolly Parton in front of archival images of herself-vaguely referring to time got me a bit verklempt. But I suppose, it is quite hard to do anything original with so many photographers -- I do still try though!" - Jill Greenberg
"Self-portraiture for me is a way to realize my imagination of myself and be able to inspect myself in this imagination." - Pixy Liao
"Self-portraiture is important to me because it's the documentation that I exist and when I'm no longer here, that I lived a life. I'm reclaiming my autonomy in a world that will always sexualize and fetishize me and oftentimes. my self-portraits are pages from my visual diary." - Courtney Coles
"Self-portraiture to me is a way to get in touch with the parts of me that I'm most uncomfortable about. It's my way to genuinely indulge in my being, face my constant becoming, access my vulnerability while also being kind to my flaws." - DeLovie Kwagala
"Self-portraiture allows me to explore new techniques and ideas with tremendous freedom. I love every aspect of collaboration, but I often feel my biggest moments of growth come from experimenting with just myself in front of and behind the lens." -Sara Dilley
"Self-portraiture, especially through collage is my favorite way of expressing those feelings and deep knowings that words can’t fully describe. It’s an extension of my inner work of self-evolution, remembering, and discovering." - Caroll Taveras
"Self-portraiture allows me to inhabit and explore the skin of the characters I create and in turn push myself out through its pores." - Stacey Tyrell
“The flowers around my house are all in bloom with bees buzzing and beautiful colors. Quarantine at times sucks but there is so much beauty around me. I’m able to plant in my garden- and have the time to appreciate my new home to give it the TLC it deserves.” - Shana Jarrett
"Self-portraiture has been a safe haven where I feel free to question what I've been told is true, honor what I've been told is shameful, and witness a part of myself I have long looked away from." - Ebenezer Galluzzo
"I used to think being invisible was what kept me safe, if I could be quiet, small, and take up no space, then my body would be forgiven. When I turned the lens on myself over a decade ago all of that changed. Self-portraiture allowed me to heal myself and then radicalize my views on who is photographed, how, and by whom?"
“Self-portraits have been a way for me to get to know myself intimately and to truly love who that person is that I see.” - Kivvi Roberts
"While in quarantine, I've decided to start scanning 120 film self-portraits I made in college. This is one of many. It's weird I don't make a lot of self-portraits anymore." - Tiffany Sutton
"A self-portrait opens a window to the imaginary world of the maker - using themselves to explain their emotions through colors, shapes, textures" - Maria Louceiro
"Self-portraiture is meaningful for me because it’s an intimate moment of truth I’m having with my soul, by using the camera to reflect how I view myself. - Dee Dwyer
"I don't do much self-portraiture – this was probably the last time I set up my tripod to photograph myself (about 3 years ago). I admire others' self-portraits much more than my own (Elinor Carucci, LaToya Ruby Frasier, and Francesca Woodman come to mind.) But at 36 weeks pregnant, I felt an urgency to document the metamorphosis of my body, and to capture myself as I felt in that moment; unvarnished, corporeal, a little resigned. I knew that time in my life was a threshold into something else, and I wanted to mark it." - Frances F. Denny
"Self-portraiture is a powerful tool for marking prominence. It allows an open space for self-observation, to see yourself in a different light, a differing reality. I view my past self, and future possibilities all at once, knowing growth is inevitable while living in the present. "To Those Awaiting Their Flowers" was an open love letter to myself, an opportunity to love the beauty I emit through my eyes." - Laila Stevens
"There's an inner dialogue that occurs during self-portraiture. Assuming the role of both photographer and subject really brings the relationship between the two into focus and offers a unique glimpse into your own personal process. Photographers spend a lot of time behind the camera, but I think the perspective on the opposite side can be equally valuable." -Chona Kasinger
"Ideas come to me at random moments and I often find if I don’t execute on those ideas immediately, the other part of my brain steps in with all the reasons why the idea won’t work. Then I talk myself out of it so I try to make the shot before that happens. But sometimes it’s an odd time of day (or night) or there’s you know, a plague and people aren’t available so I fill that role if I have to. Practically speaking, I have to test the lighting setups and I’m usually the only one around so I end up with a lot of self-portraits."
- Alanna Airitam
- Alanna Airitam
"I live in a small rural town in southern California, and I am lucky enough to have a lot of space and animals around me to keep me busy (and to photograph.)" - Brooke Frederick
"This is a self-portrait I took while in quarantine. I was feeling very under it all this day. My son said 'Can we do face painting?!' I was not in the mood to paint happy butterflies on his face. Ha! But I said yes, probably more out of not feeling like anything else made more sense. Well, he ended up painting my face too and it was actually a beautiful moment. I had been crying earlier that day from all the stress and sadness in the world. To me this photo is about mental health and is about being open and honest with your experiences." - Andrea D'Agosto
"Self-portraiture for me is a moment of vulnerability. Sometimes you see something you want to capture but you are the only person available to make the image. It's really inserting myself into the work vs just observing the scene." -Helynn Ospina
"For me, self-portraits are about the gaze and access, who you allow to view you and what aspects of yourself you're willing to share." - Jasmine Clarke
"I take self-portraits to help deal with anxiety and depression - they help me express myself in a way that words cannot." -Lindsay Kreighbaum
"In this particular moment, I've turned to myself each day to acknowledge not only that I'm still here and alive despite my inability be near others with any semblance of normalcy, but that I'm here and willing to face the anxieties, grief, and complexities of being stuck in indefinite isolation during a global pandemic. In an act of performing before and behind the lens, I become my own company in a moment in history where having one over for a portrait is unsafe." -Amy Elkins
"When I take a self-portrait it's such a private moment I allow myself to be in. It's hard for me to describe, but I feel so self-aware in that moment, and allowing myself to fully embody the emotion that I'm experiencing at that time. I'm so used to photographing other people, that I forget that the first images I would take would be of myself, and in the act, I am very intentional on what I'm trying to convey." - Eva Woolridge
"Self-portraiture offers me a chance to express who I am in a more intimate way and invites the viewer to journey between the inner dwellings where my spirit resides, and its travels beyond." -Jamie Riva
"Beyond identity, I believe that having a self-portraiture practice helps me be a better photographer even when I am photographing other people. I know firsthand what it takes to be vulnerable in front of the camera, and through that experience, I become more conscious of what the person I’m photographing may need in that moment." - Laurence Philomene
"A lot of times I have an idea I want to get out of my head but don’t have another model, so I’ll just use myself. I worked on a few self-portraits during the pandemic to give myself something creative to do. Masks, sweatpants, candy, those have been the things to get me through 2020." -Laura Thompson
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The Luupe is a one-stop production platform designed to help brands collaborate with underrepresented photographers across the globe, providing resources and opportunities that boost creator’s impact and income, while streamlining traditional workflows to create high quality, diverse content, at scale. Our brand purpose is to help underrepresented photographers and creators further their career and generate income with the goal of improving diversity in front of and behind the lens in the commercial photography industry.