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Auto Focus: A Brief History of Contemporary Self-Portraiture

Art, some may argue, is a product of the ego. Nowhere is this meta-awareness more palpable than in the art of the self-portrait.

A fantastic new book by Susan Bright, Auto Focus: The Self-Portrait in Contemporary Photography, explores just that through a brilliantly curated survey of self-portraits by 75 of the world’s most remarkable contemporary photographers.

Tracey Rose
Ciao Bella, Ms Cast, Venus Baartman, 2001
Anas Al-shaikh
Memory Of Memories 1, 2001

Intimate and introspective, the book begins with a beautifully written and illustrated essay that contextualizes the photographic self-portrait and its history, from the 1840s to today.

Zhang Huan
Homeland, 2001
Hew Locke
Tyger, Tyger, 2007

The anthology is organized in five thematic chapters: diaristic and autobiographical photos; images of the body; masks and masquerade; classic studio portraiture; and performance, both public and private. Together, they paint a faceted and thoughtful portrait of photography’s relationship with the artist self, making Auto Focus equal parts visual treat and insightful handbook to the intimate psychology of the artist ego.

Images via The Guardian


Published November 3, 2010

https://www.brainpickings.org/2010/11/03/auto-focus/

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