More than a year of staying home amid Covid-19 has left most of us with sterile social media pages, forcing us to share endless flashbacks, faded sunsets from our windows and photos of this aesthetic corner of our home to make up for the lack of the picturesque moments in our lives.
However, true creativity always finds a way. Many photographers and influencers have started to explore the art of self-portraits. Not to be confused with selfies, self-portrait photography is a carefully composed and thought-out form of photography where the photographer is also the model. For them, selfies are not only a creative way to improve their flow on social media, but also an act of self-care that improves self-esteem.
Ladakh-based photographer and director Kritika Singh Bisen, 23, has always been fascinated by the idea of self-portraits, but only began to pursue it in earnest after the first lockdown last year. “I only started taking selfies on a regular basis when I was home during the first lockdown. Before the start of the pandemic, my job required a lot of travel which inevitably gave me access to beautiful places. However, things changed as soon as Covid-19 entered our lives. I had to find creativity in a tight space. I was surprised by the magic of the mundane, ”shares Bisen, who also creates Instagram reels sharing his art mastery journey.
Self-portrait photography has always been the “introvert’s choice” to get out of a creative block, says Daizy Yadav, 22-year-old social media content creator based in Calcutta. “The foreclosure came with a lot of mental pressure and also a drop in new content for my blog. I’ve always been a bit shy and had to find quiet places for the outdoor shoots. So self-portrait photography started out as a way to express myself and cheer me up when I was feeling bad. But the best part is, I can take my own photos and tell my story without having to awkwardly pose in front of someone else, ”says Yadav, who runs a fashion blog about styling and recycling outfits.
But how do these photographers find inspiration, while being locked in their homes, amid all the restrictions? Bisen explains, “I felt compelled to look at every nook and cranny with a new set of creative eyes. I began to look at each piece of fabric, each artifact in my storefront differently. I started to look at everything as an accessory, a detail of my photo, a backdrop.
Self-portrait photography also helps people boost their self-esteem. “It’s exhilarating to see my imagination come true. Capturing my thoughts / feelings and emotions is very liberating. It’s a form of self-esteem for me, ”reveals Yadav. Echoing a similar sentiment, Bisen adds, “Self-portraits have allowed me to find parts of myself that are beautiful. It allowed me to muster the courage to look at myself in every picture frame in all my imperfections and always notice the exact emotion I’m trying to communicate.
Clicking on selfies, like any other form of photography, is a skill that takes practice. But you also don’t need expensive equipment or formal photography training. “You don’t need expensive gimmicks to get started, really. I started taking my photos with my low-end Android phone and still use my phone to take all of my photos. You just need to love the creative process, ”advises Richa Shahi, 21, content creator and influencer from Haldwani (Uttarakhand), whose work was featured in Take Your Selfie Seriously, a book by the self-portrait photographer and filmmaker. Australian. Sorelle Amour. Bisen thinks that the most important part of the process presents itself. “It’s never too late to start something new. You will find inspiration anywhere if you seek it. So show up every day and keep training, ”Bisen shares.
Looking to learn this skill to liven up your social media accounts as well? Here are some tips to get started:
Experiment with the equipment you have before you invest in anything new. A camera or smartphone with a self-timer may be enough to start.
Conceptualization is the most important part of the process. Your photos should have a story or theme behind them. Thinking about your wardrobe, the angles and the background are the next steps.
You can find the perfect background by paying more attention to the rooms in your home and your everyday surroundings that you have become accustomed to. Your garden, your roof or even your shelf can be used for this purpose. You can also try hanging a sheet to give yourself a blank canvas to lay in front of and use things like plants and books as props.
If you don’t know how to pose for yourself, try posing in front of the mirror to practice. Once you feel good about yourself, the results will naturally be better.
This exercise doesn’t have to be just for your social media. Self-portraits can be therapeutic personal projects or a fun hobby.
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