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Self portrait photography

As an anthropologist i always found looking at others through a theoretical microscope and certainly through the camera lens an offensive intrusion. Under the circumstances of social distancing to turn this gaze on myself is not an act of courage but the only option left for an artist to explore and express best what she experiences most closely. So here i am finally venturing into this mysterious vastness of portraiture something i always avoided.

Self portraiture at this stage in my work has another advantage of resolving my multiple identities and the entangled issues of culture, gender, rights, motherhood, nature, art, politics and so many others through a series of portraits. When it’s a photograph of a person one must approach it with a tentativeness inspired by consideration and respect for your subject. With age and experience of course comes an introspective maturity and the body’s ability to portray things that are deeply buried under its skin.

Also as the day unfolds you wait to capture only those moments which will reveal your self along with the web of your experiences and lines in such a way that it prevents the viewer from coming too close because they have to earn that. Lastly it is a performance an opportunity to construct a self image as the photographer desires and to show only what she wants the viewer to see.

Like my paintings, i like to layer the surface of the photograph for the same reason of inviting in the fascinating contrarian element of time to my stills and here another new found element of light. There lies the reason for my schematic use of multiple exposures in my self portraits allowing for passage of the image in time from one brief moment to another. So there is a coming together of photography, drawing and text along with a deeper exploration of photographic portraiture with its accompanying challenges of lighting, the composition and of defying the gaze.

Saba Hasan



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