Artists have been portraying themselves ever since the practice was invented, whether that meant painting a self-portrait or turning the camera around on themselves. Often this resulted in alternate personas and characters being created. For this assignment we were to produce three photographs which explored different personas and reflected a certain character. I chose to do self-portraits and explore the personas of “victim”, “explorer” and “femme fatale”.

I looked into photography work by artists such as Cindy Sherman and Sacha Goldberger, as well as film stills, to make the images look as dramatic and over-the-top as possible.

The victim shot needed to exemplify helplessness, fear and vulnerability, both in expression, position and surroundings. I took inspiration from film shots for this and set up the photo through a broken shed door.

I wanted the explorer shot to look happy and whimsical, a character always ready for adventure. I added as many cliche explorer references into the shot as I could, with the backpack, binoculars and a safari hat. I took inspiration from Indiana Jones movie posters when doing the colour grading, creating a sepia-type colour scheme.

The femme fatale is a classic trope which focuses on a seductive and dangerous woman who usually turns out to be the villain. Portrayals of femme fatales tend to have strong contrasts with pops of colour. I used contrasting studio lighting with upward facing lighting to create a slightly menacing effect. I also took the photo at an unusual angle, because I thought the femme fatale was a more daring and memorable persona and I wanted the composition of the image to reflect that.