NIKI SOUTH               Student number: 514516

“The hidden me”


Demonstration of technical and visual skills: I chose to construct my ideas in “real time” in one photograph per image. I considered using photo-montage or photography combined with collage to represent my ideas which I think would have been easier. Working with props and layers within each image was challenging with self-portraiture (difficulties: focus, depth of field, movement, composition whilst in the picture) however I decided that although the photographs may not be as polished as usual they would be realistic and closer to representing me.

  • My observational skills were tested as I was moving quickly in and out of camera and I had to both see the composition and then be a part of it.
  • I composed and constructed each image before shooting, although when I reviewed images I had to make changes to gain the effect I wanted.
  • I considered carefully what I wanted inside each frame to convey a message, and therefore for each image which part of me I used was important; for instance in The peacemaker it was the centre, the heart of me that I want the viewer to focus on.
  • I also thought carefully about the perspective I presented in terms of the message I was giving; for instance shooting The Escapist with the bars on top of my body whilst shooting downwards, which I thought enhanced the feeling of containment I wanted to portray.
  • I carefully considered the background and colours for each image, for instance choosing white for The Peacemaker, green for the Escapist, and warm spicy colours for The Lover.
  • I used a remote camera timer for the first time and made extensive use of the self-timer. I also experimented for only the second time with a Speedlight and chose to work without it when this would be more effective and a slow shutter speed could be used.
  • I was surprised that three of the final four images chosen were taken at an aperture of f.8, however this reflects that I had a similar judgement on what aperture would give me the depth of focus I needed.

Quality of outcome:

  • It is hard for me to judge the coherence of my work as I agree that self-portraits are “charts of the most personal sort usually done in quiet complicity with the self” (Sobieszek, 1978). There are elements of some of the images that are meaningful to me but that I would not want to have to explain to others; I hope that there is enough in each image that enables the viewer to build meaning.
  • I considered the images as a series as well as singularly, this is why I reshot The Organiser with more than my hands and arms in it, even though I eventually returned to just my fingers. It was also one of the reasons and why I cropped The Lover to a closer shot when I found the image I wanted to use.
  • I constructed the order of the series to build up the narrative for the viewer from the less hidden of my selves to the most intimate of my multiple selves.
  • I chose to crop to a square ratio as I think this enhances the concept of “The hidden me” as it draws your eye into the centre of the image.
  • The images are cruder (less perfect) than I would normally tolerate but I hope that this is acceptable due to the nature of the self-portraiture and theme that I am trying to relate.

Demonstration of creativity

  • I moved from a position of not wanting to put myself in the picture to doing so with a purpose, self-reflection. This was risky for me and I used little disguise, ultimately dismissing mirrors and masks.
  • I experimented as I shot and after reviewing images to get what I thought were the most effective results.
  • I believe my concept itself of the hidden me is creative and that my construction of these is imaginative.

Context: I researched through exhibitions photographers and books both self-portraiture in general and photographic self-portraits; my learning points were invaluable when planning and executing my assignment:

  • To comprehend hard on my multiple selves and my identity.
  • Not to fear self-portraiture as self-exploration can be therapeutic and enlightening.
  • To consider carefully backgrounds, colours, framing and perspective.
  • To work within a short time frame to keep the focus; I shot all images in a few days. It is possible however that I have sacrificed quality a little for this focus and may need to return and reshoot to improve them when I reflect.


Sobieszek, R (1978) “Other selves in photographic Self-Portraiture” in: Sobieszek and Irmas (1994). The camera i. 1st ed. Los Angeles: Los Angeles county museum of art.


NIKI SOUTH                       Student number 514516



IMG_6090 sq 1500.jpg

“The Organiser”

Image 3: Exposure 1/8 sec,   Aperture f/11, ISO 200, Focal length 28mm


B IMG_6288 sq 1500

 “The Escapist”

Image 36: Exposure 0/6 sec,   Aperture f/8, ISO 200, Focal length 50mm


 C IMG_6201 sq2 1500

“The Peacemaker”

Image 13: Exposure 0/3 sec, Aperture f/8, ISO 200, Focal length 50mm

 IMG_6309 sq 1500

“The lover”

Image 37: Exposure 0/3 sec,   Aperture f/8, ISO 200, Focal length 41mm




Niki South      Student number:514516



“Flushed away”

Image 26: Exposure 1/100, Aperture f/4.5, ISO 400, Focal length 35mm.



“Floating off”

Image 8: Exposure 1/125, Aperture f/5.6, ISO 125, Focal length 100mm.



“Washed up”

Image 32 : Exposure 1/15, Aperture f/9, ISO 400, Focal length 39mm



“Cracking up”

Image 42 : Exposure 1/60, Aperture f/5.6, ISO 400, Focal length 42mm.



“Frozen heart”

Image 62: Exposure 1/25, Aperture f/6.3 ISO 400, Focal length 92mm.



“Hung out to dry”

Image 76: Exposure 0.4, Aperture f/7.1, ISO 400, Focal length 48mm



Niki South        Student number: 514516



Start by doing some reflecting in your learning log. What kinds of subjects might be seen as un-photographable? How might you go about portraying them using photography? List a few examples of things you’re experiencing now or have recently been thinking about. This doesn’t have to be too in-depth or revealing, but it can be if you want. Equally, it might be something as apparently trivial as how you’re going to fit everything into your busy day. At first you may come up with literal examples, but the more you think about them the more those ideas will develop into specific and more original ones.

Make a list of at least seven ideas. Try and keep to things you have a personal interest in or curiosity about. Keep a notebook with you at all times and make notes when ideas strike you as interesting.

Now implement one of your ideas. Aim for a tightly edited and visually consistent series of 7–10 images.



This assignment is personally driven a “metaphorical and visceral interpretation” as I chose to explore and visually represent the emotion disappointment that I have felt both strongly and frequently recently. I have presented six images, the first four depicting subjects that have caused disappointment, the fifth depicting a consequence of these disappointments and the last being a summary and commentary on them.

The captions accompanying each image signpost metaphors about these disappointments. Two themes run throughout the series, water and paperwork. Water for its symbolism of weakness, negativity and the unconscious; paperwork as it was central to some of the disappointments (flushed away, washed up) and so I included an element of paperwork in each image to provide some continuity (e.g. Shreds of evidence in the disharmonious nest).

My research on conceptual art was very useful to me and led me to:

  • Photograph objects for what they might suggest rather than what they are (nest)
  • Use everyday objects to create an idea (toilet, sink, clothes dryer)
  • Photograph as a record of my engagement with the art
  • Photograph as a response to a metaphor

This assignment was a new departure for me as I found I was reflecting and planning more that I was photographing. The real challenge was in devising and composing each image, and the photograph is merely a record of this. I am pleased that I took a personal approach, using self-exploration, broadened by research and exhibition visits , and feel that it was creative in a holistic way. The question for me is how viewers will respond to it, is there enough clarity in my messages or representations, and will they find them aesthetically pleasing? I guess this is always a risk with conceptual art or photography, not being in control.


Niki South Student number: 514516



  • My research.
  • My engagement with photography on many levels.


  • Consider different formats as a way of informing the reader about and image.
  • Crop from images to focus on the strongest part.
  • Consider using either portrait or landscape within one series.
  • Shoot images that are more ambiguous, oblique, subtle and less cluttered for the reader.
  • Develop my sketch book use alongside my mind maps.


  • Make full use of various formats where appropriate to enhance my image or message.
  • Crop more brutally if effective.
  • When composing think more subtly and shoot and present images that are more ambiguous.
  • Continue to develop my sketches for shoots, perhaps I should present some on my blog?
  • Re-subscribe to the British Journal of Photography.

Link to learning log:

These mind maps summarise the narrative of my brainstorming. preparations and post shooting thoughts contained in the learning log





Post shooting: