The Self Portrait, a Powerful Tool for Self-Therapy

Cristina Nunez., (2009), The self portrait, a powerful tool for self-therapy [online], Routledge,  [Accessed on March 1st 2015, at 14:29]

  • in the digital era self-portraiture possibly enables anyone to produce a work of art instinctively, without knowing anything about photography
  • more people today feel a strong urge towards self representation
  • a dialogue between out thinking mind and our ‘gut’
  • can be empowering
  • the author has been helping children, adolescents and adults to create self-portraits, they give them the necessary directions so the focus is drawn to their inner life and emotions, the raw material for art
  • Anthony Bond considers “self-portraits as representations of artistic creativity” and “as a second self or alter ego of the creative subject. Their true purpose may be the projection of the idea of self-hood from the artist to the viewer.”
  • an image of the self means I am creating my own image, so i am the creator of this image
  • the self-portrait is a way of using photography to look inside ourselves. to work on out inner world as a way of opening or deepening our unique creative process
  • we separate ourselves from what we dislike and open up a space for catharsis or renewal
  • “The making of the image becomes a kind of punching bag, providing a sense of liberation and further material for introjection, making it easier for use to accept ourselves as we really are and immediately increasing our self esteem.” pg 7

  • Sophie Calle puts her own life into an artistic performance by anonymously asking a detective to follow her
  • Jo Spence turned her fight with breast cancer into a work of are with social and political intent
  • jenny Saville shows her grotesque and monstrous body as a political statement against the idealisation of the perfect body

  • taking self-portraits of one’s own naked body is an effective way to delve in our own subconscious mind and unknowingly expressing a rich vein of psychological material
  • the self portrait contributes to the union of the inner and outer self, of the mind and the body
  • it is a voyage into out unconsciousness
  • art and therapy are connected. most artists feel a need to produce art as a way of feeling better and their raw material is their emotions, or troubles and inner pain [1]
  • the decision to create art comes from the need to express emotions
  • if with modern technology and the self-portrait allows anybody to produce art without and expertise, then people who suffer from mental pathologies have the opportunity to produce great art

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