How We See Ourselves
Power

How We See Ourselves

How We See Ourselves

by The Luupe
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A collection of self-portraits honoring Women's History Month and International Women's Day, curated by The Luupe.

These photographs showcase the many ways we embrace ourselves, our bodies, our experiences and perspectives.
We celebrate our power to shape and shine in 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 and we'll share
© Courtney Coles "These days i'm intentionally moving slowly. Making a self-portrait has been and always will be a way of expanding my visual diary and sharing it with anyone who wants to also slow down and catch their breath."
© Amina Kadous. "As a visual storyteller, I'm always behind the camera using the camera as my shield and protection. For the first time I confronting my own fears and standing in front of the camera portraying my internal feelings and emotions. "
Mom and me at 63 © Nancy Floyd. From the series Weathering Time. "My initial interest, in 1982, was to see what time does to my body. I’m interested in putting myself alongside my parents to see how much I resemble them.
© Cris Veit. "The self-portrait routine came about as a response to a married friend's inquiry about my experience living alone during the Covid-19 pandemic. With the idea of loneliness so explicit in his question, I started photographing my daily life as if I was observed by an imaginary partner. The work evolved to be a reflexion on being the subject of the male gaze in the private realm of heterosexual romantic relationships."
© Diana Hagues. "It wasn’t like there was a single defining moment or signal. It happened over the course of time as I began to emerge from that foggy period of early motherhood. I found I was having to learn about myself again. Not who I was, as who I am now. And I found self-portraiture helped me to rediscover and express my creative soul."
© Emma Shapiro. "I began focusing on self-portraiture after many years of working as a professional artist's model. My practice allows me to reclaim my body and my image from others' interpretation and societal judgment, and present it on my own terms. Self-portraiture have has become a healing practice as well as a language I use to love myself."
© Emily Schiffer. April 27, 2020. "One more day in the living room. I attempt to include myself in these photographs. Another day is passing, and Thierry and I urgently need to work. Wanting to see myself in the family dynamics I photograph."
© Dina Laraki "What inspires me to create my self-portraits is that it gives me the opportunity to get to know myself a little deeper. Whilst I am the subject I know best it is arguably even more challenging to find new things to tap into about ourselves than it is about other subjects. Self-portraiture gives me a creative space to learn more about myself and uncover new layers in the act of self-expression."
© Kylee Isom. "The self-portrait has historically been a means of reclaiming agency, identity, and representation. "
© Dahyembi Neal. " Self-portraiture is not only a way to express myself physically, but also emotionally and mentally. While also learning a lot about myself and my passion for photography. I have learned most of my techniques through self portraits because I’m willing to use myself for my own trial and error. While also giving me time to learn about myself and ways I want to express myself as an artist."
© Marion Aguas. "In a society where I am constantly being asked to compare myself to other, self-portraiture is a practice in developing my confidence. I like that it is a solitary exercise, where I can focus and prioritize myself. "
© Kadiya Qasem. "It’s about power and choice, becoming the narrator of my own story, in my visual language."
© Madison Woiten. "I make self portraits in order to explore my identity as a woman within a relationship and a woman subjected to the patriarchy, questioning whether the prior can exist without the ladder. The body is also examined within my work as a vehicle for the trauma inflicted from my parent’s marriage. Looking to the body in such a way creates an exploration of the consumption of women’s bodies, and the ability, or lack thereof, to reclaim agency and sexualization as a woman."
© Jenny Kim. "I have taken self-portraits during especially difficult times. It feels important to me to document not just the good times. Self-portraiture has helped me see how strong I am and have been."
© Nikk Rich. "I create self portraits when I need to check in with myself, which is typically every other month. Going through the process of setting up and getting dressed has become a ritual I look forward to."
© Ursula Jahn. "My work is a visual autobiography, my self-portraits address the perception of the body and are linked to feminist issues. The self-portrait was the way I found to express myself and the opportunity to free my image from a patriarchal gaze. For many years, women have been represented through the male perspective and for me it is very important that we take back ownership of our image."
© Maxine Brackbill. "Self portraiture, I feel, is the best way to document myself while also letting myself feel comfortable in my own body. When I look at my images, I finally feel like myself, everything just makes sense. As I transition I want to look back at my journey, and this medium makes the most sense for me; I finally feel free."
© Marlike Marks. "Self-portraiture allows me to capture the fleeting moments that normally fade. This self-portrait was made while traveling Iran in 2016. It is part of a series in which I reflect on a deep and important love, and explore the transformative influence of relationships on people’s lives."
© Anne Revolte. "What inspires me to take self portraits is the process of it all. I find the process to be therapeutic, the days where I make self portraits are considered my self care days because I am focusing on me and the beauty I express creatively."
© Brittany Grimes. "I make self portraits when I’m feeling as though I need self love and to be able to capture and observe beauty."
© Alexis Ledwell. "Sometimes I have a vision and only I can bring it to life. Sometimes I only have me, have to make do with what you have."
© Susan Rosenberg Jones. "During the 2020 lockdown and unusual confinement in my high rise New York City apartment, I turned the camera on myself to examine my day to day behavior. As the pandemic, the toxic political and social climate, and general quality of life presented a troublesome reality, I continued to make these photographs into 2021 and 2022. Anxiety about aging and isolation remain, albeit with some hope for the future mixed in."
© Dafna Steinberg. "For much of my artistic career, most of my work has been creating self-portrait series. The themes of these works have varied but have all connected to my own personal experiences. While these images are meant to reflect my own life, there is always an element of make believe. Fact and fiction are not a binary, but rather a spectrum and I enjoy blurring the line between the two when photographing myself. "
© Jaina Cipriano. "There is a catharsis I can access when I am performing for my camera - I am able to open up parts of myself that feel emotional volatile in the day-to-day world safely. When I leave a self portrait session I feel lighter and more connected to myself and the world."
© Linnea Bullion "I use self-portraiture to explore versions of myself, to add more humor to my life, and to keep creative."
© Shantal Jeewon Kim. "My self-portrait is an attempt and an exercise to see oneself from one’s own eyes. Killing the internalized gaze from others. Facing oneself as a creature, a living thing rather than a human, a man or a woman."
© Anastasia Sierra. "I make self-portraits with my son to remember this time in our lives, and the beauty of the closeness between us, the beauty I know I’ll long for years from now. Making these images allows me to slow down and appreciate the wonder of the fleeting moments, and sometimes escape into a more serene and colorful world."
© Amy Helmick. "I find self-portraiture as a way to express and explore thoughts, emotions and imaginings that are hard to access with words alone. It also provides a way to improve craft and share the experience of the people who sit in front of my camera. I find it restorative."
© Ella Weaver. "There’s a magic about everyday life that is inspiring to me. I use myself in my art as a way to visualize my own abstract emotions and fears, and perhaps understand them better. I tend to reveal a sort of beauty in self love through the woman’s experience among microcosms of society while regarding topics of religion, misogyny, and the self in the digital world."
© Kat Schleicher. "Self portraiture allows me to document how my physical body and artistic practice has changed over time. It gives me a chance to experiment on my craft and to more tangibly express who I am."
© Cia Gould. "I've been taking self-portraits since I was 18, after my Mom told me she wished she had more photos of herself. Now that she's past and I look like my mother, it's always fascinating to see her within my photos. Taking self-portraits also helps me practice self-love and find the beauty inside of myself."
© Damla Yedisan. "I want to see my feelings and document them."
© Chantal Lesley. "I'm inspired to make self-portraits because I feel I have been underrepresented in the media in a positive way my whole life. By taking self portraits I’m turning the colonial gaze upon itself, and regaining my power and agency."
© Christina v Feilitzsch-Hanley. "I like to take self portraits for a number of different reasons, the first reason being that I am patient with myself I can work on getting the shot I want for hours. The second being I don’t have any photographer friends so I’m often the one behind the camera. Being able to take my own photos gives me the ability to preserve moments and emotions in my life, that would often go undocumented. Another is having been quite isolated from others the past few years it has been easiest to use myself as a model for photo concept I have."
© Man Zhu. "This is a body of work that describe the relationship between me and my boyfriend in photographic language. Age differences and long distance may lead to cognitive differences. We love each other, but we are still two independent individuals. Intimacy brings us closer together and becomes more and more similar. To some extent, we are like another self in the world."
© Jessica Pettway. "Self portraiture is a restorative exercise in vulnerability."
© Erica McKeehen. "Self-portraits have persisted throughout my life of creative expression, since first picking up a camera at age 16. I currently photograph myself as a burlesque performer and sex worker who embraces both androgyny and high femme glamour, in the modest domestic space of my city apartment. At times I am more performative for the camera -- other times, more candid, more inward, and more interested in these images as documents, or markers of this charged time of living. "
© Lucie Hodiesne Darras. "For me, the action of doing a self-portrait is a way to know our own person better. To create a self confidence."
© Paola Ortega. "What inspires me is the opportunity to question the aspects of my being that I’m most scared, that made me feel vulnerable, and with the eager to explore and question what and who am I."
© Karen Santos. "Creating a self portrait for me is an intimate confrontation of myself-- a moment to check in and a safe space to express the current emotional and mental state that I am in. It's a method of healing, self love, and honoring my existence."
© Emanuela Nesko. "For me creating self portraits represents sharing with vulnerability and intimacy my views on topics that need more attention drawn to them."
© Gritchelle Fallesgon. "Self-portraits serve as a documentation of the woman I have become (in this case - a plant lady.) I love reflecting on the various self-portraits I’ve taken over the years and seeing my growth as a person and photographer."
© Imani Hamilton. "After going to art school and learning about the Classicism and the Baroque era, I enjoy recreating historical paintings and placing myself in them."
© Marisa S White. "I create self portraits as a way to hyperbolize emotions and visually state what isn't always so easy to express with words. My work is all about relativity and connectivity; using myself as the model brings me into the conversation, allowing for vulnerability to open the door for connection."
© Tricia Rainwater. "My goal as a self portrait photographer is to create an archive of my life where there hasn't been one. As an Indigiqueer, mixed race, Choctaw woman I feel it is very important to document for myself and the generations to come. I not only photograph to process trauma but to remember my joy. "
© Miria Sabina Maciagiewicz. Trophy Room. "Self-portraiture can be an exploration of ones subconscious and desire for closure. The interest in utilizing myself as a subject is driven by a search for self-preservation and healing. Photography therefore functions as an agent of both empowering myself and altering the course of oppressive patriarchal legacies."
© Sade Fasanya. "Spending so much time capturing the beauty of other people, I get these sporadic moments where I want to photograph myself just a beautifully as I do others. Being my own muse is sexy and uplifting."
© Sigrid Debusschere. "While walking around the Mont des Arts in Brussels at the end of the evening, I came across a set with a mini-podium covered with a mirror. While climbing on it, I had fun taking self-portraits. The prints left on the mirror and the gust of wind outlined the photo."
© Rohina Hoffman. "Self-portraits are a way for me to visually interpret my innermost reflections/thoughts of myself (my inner image) and show others how I might perceive myself. It forces me to be brave and vulnerable on a journey to greater self-discovery."
© Frances Bukovsky. "Self portraiture is a balm for the disconnection I have experienced to my own body as a result of chronic illness and medical gaslighting. Creating images of myself is a practice in self witnessing and healing as I come into the wholeness of my human experience as a non-binary disabled person."
© Ariana McLaughlin. "Sexuality, the influence of advertising on young girls, female identity, and how women navigate the ubiquitous change inherent in our bodies and our cultures, has epitomized my work for 12 years. During the early part of the Covid-19 lockdown, we contemplated what it meant to live in a new way of life, but also what does it means to be mandated by the local and federal government, and what do we look like? I created a studio in the hallway of my apartment, sourced materials online, and mixed outfits with vintage items from both my closet and family members to create a self-portrait series. I imagined what the future could look like for women. This effort pulls from our past and from our abstruse present."
© Rachel Cabitt. "As an artist who primarily focuses on portraiture, I turned to making self-portraits during quarantine as a means of necessity, which then molded into a medium of reflection."
© Luisanna Tejada. " I feel as if I can be my truest, most vulnerable self when creating self-portraits. It's a form of therapy where it's just me in front of my own lens."
© Molly Peters. "I've disliked being photographed since I was young, and in fact, I started making pictures when I realized that if my family's one camera was in my hands, nobody else could use it to photograph me. In that way, taking pictures became almost a method of self defense, taking back control of how and when I would be captured in an image. Since then, when I insert myself into a photograph, it's primarily as a shadow or silhouette, offering a glimpse of recognition that I'm present, while obscuring most details of my form and identity. "
© Praepisut Peechapat. "Sometimes it is difficult to have a conversation with yourself, but self-portrait encourages me to face the emotions that I have but fear to acknowledge them."
© Rachael McArthur. "I started to take self portraits to represent my sexuality as a woman in the kink and BDSM scene. I wanted to show the switch side of being a woman in this environment and represent my own sexual identity."
© Sarah Ketelaars. "I made these self portraits at a time when I was struggling to come to terms with living with Lupus. Using techniques including collage and distressing the surface with ink, paint, coffee, soil and salt crystals I tried to find a visual expression of the experience of being diagnosed and learning to live with an invisible disease."
© Alayna Pernell. "I photograph myself as a way to move forward from my past traumas so that I can move forward with love. My camera gives me more grace than my mind offers and allows me the chance to really see myself as who I am, and not who I am (often times negatively) perceived to be. Simply put, photographing myself helps me to love myself [better] while also helping me heal on the inside."
© Danielle Quenell. "I make self portraits to exercise ownership over my narrative and to claim space for myself in a world where women are continually defined by the male gaze. to me, self portraiture is an act of autonomy, freedom and defiance."
© Rianca Koeman. "The missing of honesty in the postpartum period after giving birth as a women. I felt stronger than ever with a body totally different than before. Which I didn't see much in the off and online world."
© Lauren Forster. "Turning my gaze inwards and intimately responding to my surroundings. "
© Rachel Feinstein. "Making self-portraits allow me to express the bit of myself that I have no other way of showing in a regular life setting. It allows for my inner self to become the outer layer and give others a look into me that they normally wouldn't be privy to."
© Felicia Megginson. "I use photography to measure and mark my place in the world. Self-portraiture is an important part of this practice for me. I have always been interested in capturing what I feel when I look at the world through a camera lens. Documentation occurs at both an emotional and factual level. As a black woman making images, perception and reflection are central to my work; through self-portraiture, I turn that into an introspective and contemplative act — it's an opportunity to examine, reject, or reconstruct stereotypes, mythologies, or attitudes about who and what I am."
© Nina Weinberg Doran. "Something going on in my life that changes the way I'm looking at myself, self discovery, or a reveal"
© Kaitlyn Flannagan. "I photograph myself because I'm the only person in the world that I can have a 100% open, honest, and intimate conversation with between camera and subject."
© Kavozia Glynn. "I was inspired to update my self portraits after realizing that I normally don’t take enough time to do them. Self portraiture work is not as easy. With that being said, I believe photographers, like myself who ironically aren’t photogenic, should take more time to give themselves portraits with as much creativity and love as their portraits of other people. "
© Donna DeLone. "Self-portraits are about self expression for me and I don't have to translate my ideas to someone else. I am a very obedient subject."
© Maggie Meiners. "Through the lens of humor and feminism, I'm inspired by self-portraiture as a mode of self-critique in relation to the wider cultural narrative. Self-portraits leverage my personal portrayal of the the dichotomies of the gendered psyche to symbolize the feminine through notions of domesticity, beauty, and body image."
© Carrie Usmar. "Ever since I can remember I’ve had trouble expressing feelings verbally. When I get overwhelmed, I go numb feeling nothing at all. I’ve found self-portraiture to be a way I begin to feel again. A way to express myself in the moment when I don’t have the words."
Blondie. © Haley Morris-Cafiero. "I use my body as an activist tool to inspire social change. Performative self-portrait photographic practices allow me to explore difficult topics without burdening others to be victimized by the situation. I consider the work performance art and the photograph is the evidence I use to start a conversation."
© Four McCarley. "My drive to photograph myself is rooted in being visible as a trans/gender nonconforming person. Through both physical and mental factors of my transition, I have found myself to be a constant in an ever changing world. I am not only documenting how I change throughout life, but paying respects to myself and the trans body I live in."
© Eve Greenberg. "For an artist who is most often behind the lens, I find self-portraiture to be a whole other art form; a way to capture self-belief. The challenge comes from being blinded of my usual vision, easily seen through the viewfinder. What once came so naturally through sight, changes into a game of pose and pray; hoping that my artistic abilities, and individual beauty, are shown simultaneously through the self-timer of chance, and patience. "
© Persia Campbell. ""My photographic work explores female self-representation through color management and production design.I work on stage design to reconstruct and represent the intimate border and northern Mexican aesthetic.
My work has the purpose of empowering women to take female representation into our own hands and show ourselves as we want to be shown. My image and my lifestyle show my social context."
© Gigi de la Torre. "Self-portraiture is part of my explorations on human communication, emotions and processing my day to day experiences as an immigrant Latin woman. I intend to incorporate some of these on my Leaving Away book in process along with lyric writing."
© Monika Aldarondo. "Self-portraiture has allowed me to process a rare disease that is often invisible within me and the physical and emotional scars that it has left. It's allowed me to consider what it means to have been broken and repaired, and what if Kintsugi could repair the body. During the pandemic, the level of isolation my compromised system requires has allowed for capturing an incredibly wide range of emotions that otherwise might not have been so visible."
© Sherifa Diya. "I believe I should always take self portraits. Not just shooting myself, but the environment around me. to remind myself where i was and where i am right now. When I look at the photos I took during the pandemic period, it will reminds me what kind of process I went through and that I was in a big historical event. In a word, Taking your own photos is an archive of your experiences and for your own individuality."
© Vanesa Diaz. "It is the way I have got to confront my shadows and to know about myself a little bit more. It is a way for me to grow as a human being."
© Sydney Krantz. "My initial motivation is vain - to preserve my youthfulness as I age and gray - but as I photograph myself more, I realize it's a tool to explore my jewish identity, and reflect on the current moment in time - in my life and in the world."
© Diana Patin. "This photograph is part of a set of offerings, collected as part of an intensive examination of myself and my contentious and often negative relationship with self-image, specifically my physical form. In them I confront my body and my fatness in ways I had previously avoided, and celebrate the pockets of exaltation in these new ways of seeing myself. While a positive self-image is desirable, a perfect one is unrealistic, and it is the journey towards it that uncovers the ripest fruit."
© Ava Margueritte. "Living with dyslexia and CAPD (a central auditory processing disorder) has made it challenging to communicate, self-portraiture is a way to express my inner world. By channelling these emotions, I can document specific moments in my life that I cannot verbalize. Confronting my past allows me to process and grieve my former self, letting go of what was to embody the present."
© Catalina Reyes. "I use self-portrait as a way to document different stages in my life. This photo was taken when I had just moved on my own and I was questioning my identity and my place in society."
© Kabena Kasangati. "Stranger is a series of self-portraits that explore trauma, memory, identity and place. This series questions the ruptures in my family life resulting from the separation of my parents. By staging these images in my home and in spaces that are familiar to me, I use my own body as a surface to explore my personal history and the voids created by absence."
© Sara Reeves. "Self portraiture is a way to take control. We have the power to make every decision from start to finish. We have ownership over all aspects of the image. Control/Power/Ownership. Making a self portrait allows me to flex those muscles and to incorporate them into all aspects of my work."
© Natalie Jenks. "To photograph myself is to take power in performing for the camera. I build myself up into something bigger than my body, bigger than the everyday. It’s a dance for myself and the lens only; I dare the viewer to confront and be confronted."
© Rachel Larsenweaver. "I take self-portraits because my body is my inheritance for my short stay here. When I honor my body through making images of it, I am honoring my mother and my grandmothers, and the bodies that came before me. When I take self-portraits, I am honoring the bodies of my daughters and granddaughters and the bodies that will come after."
© Koko Hyodo. "Interesting figures and scenarios always inspire me to take self-portrait. Also, I would like to take the moments with those interesting subjects."
© Whitley Isa. "I don't take photos of myself often and when I do, I always smile with my lips closed. I have a gap in my teeth that and I never liked smiling and showing my teeth. My Nigerian mom always told me that gap teeth were a sign of beauty in Nigeria, but being born and raised in Belgium I didn't see it like that. As I get older, I'm trying to learn to love my gap and capture my smile in photos more, starting with self-portrait."
© Veronica Cruz. "I feel as if it has become the only way I can tell my story. Making self portraits have allowed me to become vulnerable in a way I never let myself be. "
© Hannah Altman. "In Hebrew, the words 'I' and 'nothing' are made from the same letters; only the arrangement of symbols shape the difference between 'me' and 'void.' These images explore the idea that within photographic narratives, the built world around the repeating self forms a hand that points to multilayered truths within Jewish storytelling."
© Sofia Erto. "To help me realize the changes, developments and improvements I have gone through and that I do not always see "
© Alison Chen. "I use my body to analyze and understand the dynamics of our closest relationships. I explore the complexities and confusions that surround intimacy, the dynamics of vulnerability, and the areas where our preconceived notions fall short. Self portraiture helps me place myself within the context of these relationships."
Estefania Ramos. "What drives me to photograph myself is to see the change not only physically but also psychologically. How I project myself as I see myself is a way to remember who I am."
Karyna Aslanova. "Self-portrait is a close friend of mine, but recently I started to explore another side of it, where I'm fragile, exposing things that hurt, things that change me, and observing myself in an action as if I'm someone else. Self-portrait helps me to get to know myself better, be at peace with myself, and to heal myself."
Ann Prochilo. "Point a camera at me and I dissemble – unless I’m the one behind the lens. Through self-portraiture, I ride the tension between control and serendipity since I can’t, in real time, see what the camera records. I love the uncertainty, mystery and revelation. I love the images: testaments to resilience and vulnerability, what we share and what we keep hidden."
© Yvette Cakpo. "My very first self-portraits date back to several years ago. At that time, I was using a film camera, but already and in a very natural way, I have liked this kind of photography and I have never stopped practicing it. Self-portraiture is for me the art of defining myself as a photographer and challenging myself on a daily basis."
© Guzin Mut. "To practice different photo techniques, to learn communicating better as a photographer by putting myself in the subject's shoes, to check in with the mental picture of myself and to express contemporary issues."
© Flynn Larsen. "I've been making self-portraits for years now, and the reasons are ever-changing. In the beginning it was a way to push the pause button on my day (as a freelancing mother with young children) and document myself poised and quiet, even though I felt harried and stressed most of the time. Later on I started to see those images as a document of the loss-of-self that can happen in motherhood, and I saw a sadness there, a woman who was both present and elsewhere at the same time. I feel myself coming together again now that my kids are a little older, so now my self-portraits are more about embracing that new aspect of my life, and tapping into a silly and joyful way of being that I haven't really expressed since I was a child."
© Daniela Wolff. "Why do I photograph myself? There are at least two reasons – first: I’m the only model that’s always available exactly in the moment when the muse decides to share a kiss. Second: I like to play with myself. It’s very empowering to put myself the in front of my own lens and to show (or not to show) whatever woman I am that day. To reinvent myself over and over again..."
© Sophie_Benoit. "I started self-portraiture to explore my inner workings. What will I find if I go dare beyond the usual? It also provides a great canvas for the mischievous that lives in me. It turns our both artistic directions provide great insights on how I go about this life."
© Zakiyyah Woods. "My inspiration to make self-portraits comes from knowing each moment will be a distant memory some day. Whether I'm feeling beautiful, ugly, weak or strong, and especially when I am my most uninspired to create, I turn my camera on myself as a way to remind myself why I love photography and the power in its storytelling."
Me and My Children © Tatiana Dmitrenko.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The Luupe
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.
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