It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to

5 October, 2012 #day1 #selfportraits

My self-portraits are a visual autobiography that aims to convey what lies behind the surface at one given time each year – my birthday.

Since 2010 I have been taking daily self-portraits starting 5th October and ends the day I forget to take one and restarts the next 5th October.

Like journaling, I see these self-portraits as a way of documenting my life. The photos reveal personal secrets and a sense of isolation. Each portrait is an exploration of the self.

2010 daily self-portraits lasted only a few days because I was young and (thought I was and if I was being honest with myself still) in love and life was just too damn good to stop and take a selfie.

selfie_20102010 seletion of #selfportraits

In 2011 I started posting my birthday self-portraits on my Tumblr page, broken coconut. 2011 self portraits lasted 45 days before I just forgot to take a selfie one day. Such is life.

2011 seletion of #selfportraits

Some of 2012 self-portraits were posted on my Instagram and that lasted only 29 days.

selfies_2012

2012 selection of #selfportraits

The photographs may not be great in terms of traditional photographic standards of composition and form, but together they form a story of an intimate part of my life.

My self-portraits are like a visual diary – I can look back and see what I looked like at a particular time and at times even remember what I was doing, conversations from that day and the emotional journey.

“The selfie is revolutionising how we gather autobiographical information about ourselves and our friends,” says Dr Mariann Hardey, a lecturer in marketing at Durham University who specialises in digital social networks. “It’s about continuously rewriting yourself. It’s an extension of our natural construction of self. It’s about presenting yourself in the best way … [similar to] when women put on makeup or men who bodybuild to look a certain way: it’s an aspect of performance that’s about knowing yourself and being vulnerable.”

Tomorrow I start 2013 birthday self-portraits and I’m not sure if I’ll continue to share them online as I have in the past.

Social media and the digital era complicates definitions of the self and its boundaries.  What’s ‘real’ and whats ‘virtual’? Am I taking photos for an audience? Or myself?

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