The Art of SELF PORTRAITS in Photography

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Photo Assignment #13 deals with self-portraits in photography. Looking back on the history of photography this phenomenon isn’t just limited to people with iPhones.

Successful portraits of any kind use elements of aesthetic and conceptual thinking to create works. Vivian Maier is probably the most known photographer embracing the medium but there were others as well: Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol, Andreas Feininger, Richard Avedon and many others.

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Ted Forbes
The Art of Photography
2830 S. Hulen, Studio 133
Fort Worth, TX 76109

My name is Ted Forbes and I make videos about photography. I’ve been making photographs most of my life and I have a tremendously deep passion for photography that I want to share with you on YouTube.

The Art of Photography is my channel and I produce photography videos to provide a 360 degree look into the world of making images. We all want to get better so lets do this together!

I make videos covering famous photographers, photography techniques, composition, the history of photography, philosophy and much more.

I also have a strong community of photographers who watch the show and we frequently do social media challenges for photographers to submit their own work. I feature the best and most interesting on the show when we do these so come check it out and get involved!

  1. Elaine Williams says

    Very informative. Thank you.

  2. Maya Bz says


  3. Charles Watson says

    What is the camera being used in the thumbnail?

  4. Jay Lehman says

    You should do an episode on Cindy Sherman. I think she's a great example of a photographer who is also very consciously a fine artist. The images you touched on here are some of her more subtle and accessible– but she has done such bizarre and provocative work, even just in the context of the self-portrait.

  5. Isaac Moscovich says

    Great one!

  6. TheProductPower says

    Cool content. Thanks.

  7. Garrett Troutman says

    Great Video! Do you have links to the archives of Andreas Feininger's Time Photos? Trying to find the articles he shot for after being inspired by your spotlight, many thanks!

  8. Raoul Devos says

    Thanks for this great video. I really love it. Why did you not talk about Anton Corbijn?

  9. Mihai Chiriac says

    Can someone explain me why he has both eyes covered and what is that thing connected to camera in the thumbnail?

  10. Lorin Duckman says

    Please do more shows on self-portraits. I have a number of questions about the process. Am an avid self-portrait maker. Sorry I didn’t know about the assignments. Where do I start? How do I ask a question or suggest a topic?

  11. Vinícius Lemos says

    Selfies, we're doing selfies

  12. Rich Watson says

    You have a great voice…it is easy to listen to.

  13. Raymond Tan says

    Haha! I was just wondering when we would get to a self portrait assignment. New game – Guess Ted's Next Photo Assignment

  14. E Y says

    Cool stuff thanks

  15. And it is submitted on Twitter. I hope you like the as much as I do.

  16. Xico Franciske says

    Hello Ted. Thanks for all your videos specially the ones more "academic" about history, photographer's work and photography themes.
    Just wanted to say that in this case it is all about the concept/definition of Self Portrait. For example, and if i am not mistaken, Cindy Sherman always said she does not make Self Portraits. She photographs herself as model cause it gives her more freedom and cuts the time trying to explain to another model what she wanted for a specific project. What is a Self Portrait? if I use a timer or a cable release or instead a i frame all the photo and then ask someone do serve as a remote and press the shutter? in Art the concept of self portrait was directly associated with the face, so if a photo is taken by a photographer but only shows his/her reflection or distortion or some kind of self projected shadow… is that a self portrait? 🙂 just a few thoughts. and thank you again.

  17. Caterana Tonnē Fleur says

    I think Lee Friedlander would have been a great inclusion as actual self-portrait in this video 🙂

  18. I am my worst subject. I'll try and come with something interesting

  19. Joep says

    Hey Ted, you should also check out Anton Corbijn's Self Portraits. What I find extra interesting, is that to begin with they are one of his few color photos and at firs glance it is him acting as famous band members, but as an introvert kid from a small town in Holland it is a reflection of his personality and the world he wanted to be part of. They are totally different than his other work but at the same time só Corbijn! Thanks for the assignment again!

  20. Orlando Ramosjr. says

    Heyy, Love your work and I’m an avid watcher. Just wanted to let you that stanley kubrick and Frida Khalo were two individuals who could’ve easily fallen into this “echelon” , as you phrased it. I would interesting to get your take on there work doing “self” portraiture.
    I’m a 20 year old student, photographer and I work in television. Your work keeps me going and I’m truly appreciative of your consistency and perspective on the subject you take on video to video. Thanks

  21. Roy Summers says

    Thanks…keeping me inspired

  22. Majo Peroni says

    Great input Ted!! Related to conceptual work if you can have a look of the fantastic work of the Mexican photographer Ana Casas Broda! Most of her work is in that search.. one if her books took her 14 years work and the second 7 years. I met her in Chile at the International Photography Festival of Valparaiso where she was invited. Loved her work!

  23. Nicholas Erwin says

    Every time I try to take a self portrait, my camera turns off. Hmm. Great video Ted, its really interesting to see that even photographers way back then also did self portraits with their camera in frame. I thought it was kind of cliche but whether we like it or not..the camera is essential part of our life. It's part of us and it should reflected in a self portrait.

  24. PhottixHQ says

    Thanks, much appreciated.

  25. Sami Serola says

    Please share also at Facebook 😉

  26. Michael Kouloumos says

    I can not locate the comments in which we post for this last #13 photo assignment. Can you guys please help?

  27. Pekka Keskinen says

    Thank you very much once again for an inspirational and cheerful video! During the past couple of days I've, again, stumbled upon such a huge amount of negativity and name calling on YouTube, that I wanted to just drop a line and thank you for keeping things positive and sophisticated. I especially love the videos that you did, oh maybe couple of years ago, when you had a strong academic vibe in your videos — the ones about composition and other art theory subjects (and you wore glasses and a blazer). I still keep getting back to those episodes when I'm the mood for some legit theory-porn.

    I also got to know John Free's work and teaching via your channel. I've watched all his videos about a million times since! 🙂

  28. Sambit Mitra says

    The thumbnail is really nice👌

  29. Rajan Lakule says

    Hi, I had submitted images with #13 an ago when you first mentioned this assignment in your video of assignment #12. Do I need to resubmit them or the images submitted on Instagram can be considered?

  30. Paul Reitano says

    For me, Robert Mapplethorpe's 'Self Portrait" (1988) is as powerful an image as I've seen in this genre.

  31. David Rothschild says

    I really love Friedlander's self portraits in terms of depth and layer

  32. Divineshot 314 says

    Great content, looking forward to the next video. 🙂

  33. Chris B says

    Awesome, submitted my first photo assignment! w00t!

  34. Artful Flower says

    I was planning on doing a personal project with self portraits that tell viewers about who I am. I don't have much experience shooting self portraits and I was looking up tips on how to get creative with them. This video came at a great time and it inspired me to get started planning for my project! Thanks!

  35. Neil Lawrie says

    Not forgetting Francesca Woodman

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