This marvelous self-portrait project celebrates women all over the world [mildly NSFW]

Tips & Techniques

© Sofia Erto

March is Women’s History Month when we’ve been celebrating women and their accomplishments, power, and energy. We are hearing the stories they have to tell, and The Luupe encourages women to tell them through photography.

Self-Portraits by Women is a project The Luupe started to honor and celebrate women. It’s a collection of wonderful self-portraits, but also some incredible stories that follow them.

Before we go any further, let me remind you of the differences between selfies and self-portraits. In this project, The Luupe has curated a collection of self-portraits taken by women from all over the world. All of them showcase the many ways we represent ourselves, celebrate our bodies, perspectives, our joys and vulnerabilities, our youth, our aging, and visibility.

Even when it’s not Women’s History Month, The Luupe is dedicated to women. It’s a one-stop production marketplace that helps women photographers and diverse creators all over the world generate income by connecting them to brands for work.

© Sarah Ketelaars. “I made these self-portraits at a time when I was struggling to come to terms with living with lupus. Using techniques including collage and distressing the surface with ink, paint, coffee, soil, and salt crystals I tried to find a visual expression of the experience of being diagnosed and learning to live with an invisible disease.”

“More women than ever before are shaping narratives on their own terms,” The Luupe explains. Self-Portraits by Women is a powerful collection, showing the differences, but also similarities between us. I believe there are several ways in which taking self-portraits is good for you. And reading these women’s stories, I can see that we agree on many of them.

Enjoy the selection of photos below, and The Luupe will unveil all of them on their Instagram over the course of this month. But if you’re really impatient, you can check out the entire gallery of over 100 photos here.

© Susan Rosenberg jones. “During the 2020 lockdown and unusual confinement in my high-rise new york city apartment, I turned the camera on myself to examine my day-to-day behavior. As the pandemic, the toxic political and social climate, and general quality of life presented a troublesome reality, I continued to make these photographs into 2021 and 2022. Anxiety about aging and isolation remain, albeit with some hope for the future mixed in.”

© Rianca Koeman. “The missing of honesty in the postpartum period after giving birth as a woman. I felt stronger than ever with a body totally different than before. Which I didn’t see much in the off and online world.”

© Monika Aldarondo. “Self-portraiture has allowed me to process a rare disease that is often invisible within me and the physical and emotional scars that it has left. It’s allowed me to consider what it means to have been broken and repaired, and what if kintsugi could repair the body. During the pandemic, the level of isolation my compromised system requires has allowed for capturing an incredibly wide range of emotions that otherwise might not have been so visible.”

© Maxine Brackbill. “Self-portraiture, I feel, is the best way to document myself while also letting myself feel comfortable in my own body. When I look at my images, I finally feel like myself, everything just makes sense. As I transition I want to look back at my journey, and this medium makes the most sense for me; I finally feel free.”

© Dina Laraki “What inspires me to create my self-portraits is that it gives me the opportunity to get to know myself a little deeper. Whilst I am the subject I know best it is arguably even more challenging to find new things to tap into about ourselves than it is about other subjects. Self-portraiture gives me a creative space to learn more about myself and uncover new layers in the act of self-expression.”    

© Four McCarley. “My drive to photograph myself is rooted in being visible as a trans/gender nonconforming person. Through both physical and mental factors of my transition, I have found myself to be a constant in an ever changing world. I am not only documenting how I change throughout life, but paying respects to myself and the trans body I live in.”

Estefania Ramos. “What drives me to photograph myself is to see the change not only physically but also psychologically. How I project myself as I see myself is a way to remember who I am.”

© Emily Schiffer. April 27, 2020. “One more day in the living room. I attempt to include myself in these photographs. Another day is passing, and Thierry and I urgently need to work. Wanting to see myself in the family dynamics I photograph.”

© Emanuela Nesko. “For me creating self-portraits represents sharing with vulnerability and intimacy my views on topics that need more attention drawn to them.”

© Diana Hagues. “It wasn’t like there was a single defining moment or signal. It happened over the course of time as I began to emerge from that foggy period of early motherhood. I found I was having to learn about myself again. Not who I was, as who I am now. And I found self-portraiture helped me to rediscover and express my creative soul.”

© Danielle Quenell. “I make self-portraits to exercise ownership over my narrative and to claim space for myself in a world where women are continually defined by the male gaze. To me, self-portraiture is an act of autonomy, freedom, and defiance.”

Blondie. © Haley Morris-Cafiero. “I use my body as an activist tool to inspire social change. Performative self-portrait photographic practices allow me to explore difficult topics without burdening others to be victimized by the situation. I consider the work performance art and the photograph is the evidence I use to start a conversation.”

© Anastasia Sierra. “I make self-portraits with my son to remember this time in our lives, and the beauty of the closeness between us, the beauty I know I’ll long for years from now. Making these images allows me to slow down and appreciate the wonder of the fleeting moments, and sometimes escape into a more serene and colorful world.”

© Sofia Eerto. “To help me realize the changes, developments and improvements I have gone through and that I do not always see “

© Alexis Ledwell. “Sometimes I have a vision and only I can bring it to life. Sometimes I only have me, have to make do with what you have.”

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