12 Self Portraits in 2014

This is a lot of photos of me in one blog post but I wanted to put the twelve images together in one place to acknowledge the completion of the series. It was one of the creative things I accomplished in 2014 that I am not particularly proud of because most of these are not good work. I love three of these, and the rest are meh because they were done out of obligation to meeting the goal.

high res version
January – A Chaos of Paper Scraps

February - Arranging constellations
February – Arranging Constellations

March: Blending In Or Standing Out
March – Blending in or Standing Out

Things on my mind
April – Things on my Mind

Nature's Embrace
May – Nature’s Embrace

Cutting Away (version 2)
June – Cutting Away

Feeling Silly
July – Feeling Silly

In Bloom
August – In Bloom

September self portrait
September – Living in Colour

Finger Mask
October – Finger Mask

November – Hibernation

Red Portrait
December – Red Portrait

I miss photography and being good at it. The end of this project has me considering whether or not to have a new photo-based project to work on this year just to feed the image making part of my brain.

One Self Portrait a Month: Red Portrait

I had big plans for my December self portrait of an elaborate set involving paper wings and creative photoshop manipulations. But when it came time to shoot something I chose to keep it simple and just get her done.

Red Portrait

I decided this final portrait needed to be red, which is my favourite colour, and I put on my best red hat, a giant red and black winter scarf, and found red fabric for the background.

I’m so glad to be done with this series. Working on it felt tedious. I’ve come to realize I don’t enjoy shooting self portraits the way I did in the past, and I’m okay with that.

One Self Portrait A Month: Hibernation

My November self portrait is one of those that barely squeaked under the end of month deadline. I was so caught up in preparing for the Culture Crawl all month that I didn’t have time to spare for this project. I wanted to set it aside finally but my need to complete things saw me through.


I kept it very simple and used a visit to VanDusen Garden as an opportunity to shoot it outside. It was a cold wintery day with snow on the ground, but this spot in the garden was clear and had beautiful afternoon sun falling upon it. I sat for a moment catching the sun, and took a few photos (with Boris’ assistance) before moving on.

One Self Portrait a Month: Living In Colour

Last week I came across this colourful couch abandoned along a side street in my neighbourhood. Someone went to a lot of trouble to cover the entire thing with a range of neon colours – orange, green, pink, and yellow, with a bit of accented silver duct tape.

It’s pretty spectacular and special, so I decided to return another day and use it in my monthly self portrait.

Living In Colour

September self portrait

I had Boris’ assistance on this one because I wanted to do a jumping shot near the couch. My original idea was for me to be jumping off the couch but the tree branches above it got in the way. I’ve never tried a jumping shot before, and what I discovered is they are actually pretty challenging to do.

I hope the neon couch manages to stick around for awhile. It brings a smile to the faces of every person who passes it by.

One Self Portrait a Month: In Bloom

One self portrait a month in 2014 continues with a lovely colourful addition to the series. I was much more determined this time to shoot a new image and get it done before the end of the month.

In Bloom

Late July and August is the time of year I can find dahlias at the farmers market. We were full up on fruits and veggies last week so I went specifically to the market to buy flowers. It was only afterwards that I decided the dahlias should be the focus of the latest photo. I love these flowers because the colours are spectacular, and they have these elaborately structured petals. Each one is a work of art in itself.

One Self Portrait A Month: Feeling Silly

As usual, I left my monthly self portrait to the last few days of the month, because I kept procrastinating even though it was on my mind. I came close to giving up on this series completely because I wasn’t in the mood. But I pushed through this feeling because I hate giving up on projects with such a clear deadline.

Feeling Silly

I feel silly shooting self portraits these days, so I decided to do something ridiculous. At least I am wearing a nice dress in the photo (a new birthday dress in fact). This is not at all what I had in mind when I started, though I did intend this paper cut piece as the background. I wanted to make myself small because it seemed to suit my mood.

One Self Portrait A Month: Cutting Away

This is the sixth photo in my series of one self portrait a month in 2014. I am so happy to be half-way through the project, even though it also means we’ve reached the middle of the year.

I shot this portrait quickly and did not spend much time on a pose or expression because I was banking on hiding any flaws with paper cutting. My process was to shoot it with the iPhone, clean it up in Photoshop, print in out on regular 8.5″ x 11″ paper, cut a design by hand, and then re-photograph it.

Cutting Away

The top one is an early version, which I thought was finished at the time. The more I looked at it, the more it felt unfinished, so I worked on it some more and kept cutting.

Cutting Away (version 2)

Neither version feels perfect, but it was an experiment. I’ve had this idea in mind for ages, to combine portraits (or self portraits) with my paper cutting. Next time I need to do it differently, and better.

One Self Portrait A Month: Nature’s Embrace

This is the fifth photo in my series of one self portrait a month in 2014. I’ve continued working on this project by scrambling to do it at the end of each month, which hasn’t resulted in great work so far (go figure). But I am happy with this shot because it took me outside for the shoot.

Nature's Embrace

I love this rhododendron tree which lives outside the front window of my apartment. Once a year it blossoms and I make the most of its fleeting beauty while it lasts. When I took the photo a week ago the flowers were just at peak bloom, but now they are fading away and dropping to the grass. I appreciate the fleeting beauty of the rhododendron tree, and I’m glad it could be part of this ongoing series.

One Self Portrait A Month: Arranging Constellations

It wasn’t my intention to leave this until the end of the month again, but for the previous few weeks I’d been coming up dry on ideas and enthusiasm for the project of shooting one self portrait a month. I didn’t spend much time shooting this because I felt impatient about getting it done. And yet I love what I came up with, and not just because the drawing is dazzling.

February - Arranging constellations

The drawings are groupings of triangles which remind me of maple leaves in some ways and a constellation of stars in others. I love the process of doodling these because it is soothing, simple, and meditative but creates a complicated end result. I’m not sure whether combining my image with the drawing makes this more or less so.

One Self Portrait a Month: Leftover Pieces

Just in the nick of time, with a few days to spare, I managed to shoot the first self portrait in a new series. As mentioned in a previous blog post, I’d been thinking about taking one self portrait a month for the next year. A simpler version of 52 Weeks of self portraits, but with the same level of creativity.

I knew if I could talk myself into doing one within the month of January then the project would be a go. Mission accomplished, and the project is rolling.

January - A chaos of paper scraps

When I started this shoot I had a different idea in mind to use the paper scraps, and of course it evolved. These are all cut away from finished paper cut work, and have been collected together in a baggie I keep stashed in my studio. The pile of paper and my face were shot separately and made into one through the magic of Photoshop.

Going forward with the series I’m going to attempt to incorporate my paper work into each self portrait. It’s a good way to bring photography and paper together at last.