PicBod- Preparatory Task Reflections

After looking at everyones different approaches to a self portrait, I found it so interesting that there were so many different variations of a self-portrait, ignoring the fact that they were of different people. Some people, like myself, looked into the idea of identity in relation to themselves, where as other looked at showing their likes or personality through their image. Each had a lot of thought put into not only the mechanics of the image, but also the message each photographer wanted to convey in their work.

I find it very interesting looking at everyones work and different approaches as you can see different skills in each photographer and also take inspiration from your peers.

During my feedback session on my self portrait I received good feedback about my work, with people saying it was different from a normal self portrait. I was advised to looked at the work of Nancy Burson.

Nancy Burson is an American artist known for creating photographs using computer morphing technology, including the Age Machine, Human Race Machine and Anomaly Machine. Burson is best known for her pioneering work in morphing technologies which age enhance the human face and enable law enforcement officials to locate missing children and adults. Her Human Race Machine, which allows people to view themselves as a different race, is used worldwide as an educational diversity tool that provides viewers with the profound visual experience of being another race.

Burson produced a series of images of political figures. This image below, is a blend of the faces of Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Mao and Khomeini and creates a recognisably human face. It comments on the similarities in behaviour and character of the men, rather than their political differences. The title ‘Big Brother’ presumably refers to George Orwell’s novel 1984, and suggests that Burson is creating the face that personifies dictatorship.


Even though Burson’s work is not exactly like my own, I can see links between the works. Like Burson, I have used image manipulation to combine three images, of my mum, dad and myself. I aim to comment on identity and how if it wasn’t for my genetics and my parents I would not be who I am. Burson’s work is used in a more political way, yet it still addresses the idea of human identity and how we are all very similar, yet different at the same time.

Mum, Dad and I


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