Elevate: February 2012 Fine Art Exploration

So it’s been a couple of months since I participated in the Elevate Fine Art Exploration study but I am THRILLED to be back.   Last month I had to bow out at the last minute due to illness but I am happy to share in this cool little project that I am very proud to be part of.

So traditionally fine art photography is photography that someone would want to hang in their home as an art piece but I’m going to veer away from that this month and show off an ongoing project that I have sort of inadvertently taken on over the course of the past several years.  I didn’t start on this as a project intentionally, it sort of took form over the course of the past 2-3 years.  Now I feel like perhaps it is a project to document my life as I have progressed on a sort of life journey (more on that in a moment).

It’s known that some artists document themselves, some to the point of obsession, it’s not the case here – I tend to self photograph only when the whim hits me, some weeks it’s several times and other times months go by without one photograph of myself.

It is written that Rembrandt sketched his own face thousands of times during his tumultuous life.  There are theories about this “obsession” (I disagree that it was an obsession).  Some suggest that he was his most readily available model, other theories go deeper and suggest that he used his visage to test new (painting and sketching) techniques.  Still others suggest (and this is my favorite theory) that to a greater extent his self portrait studies were done as an outlet for feelings & ideas concerning the nature of human existence.  That’s my favorite theory because I find myself questioning these very things during this stage of my life, I feel like I am on this extended life journey that has to do not only with self expression of others but also trying to find the root of my own existence.  That as well as coming to fully embrace and accept my own existence on this planet, in this plane – however you choose to look at our human condition.

Please don’t think I’m being all fancy with the work that I am doing, I am using the simplest tool I have, my iPhone 4 camera.  My husband often jokes that my iPhone camera is a narcissists’ (wet) dream because it has created a little bit of a monster as I search for perfection in my own human condition – I am far from finding it, by the way.

So for this month’s exploration please allow me to share some of my “work”, I joke with friends that I am looking for the perfect Facebook profile photo but that isn’t it, I’m simply seeking something in myself – what it is…I don’t know but the Facebook perfect profile photo is something we can ALL relate to.  I suspect Rembrandt never found what he was looking for (and if he was around at the time of Facebook I suspect he wouldn’t have any of that nonsense!).  I’m ok with not know what it is I seek – honestly I’m just enjoying the journey.

So bear with me and my exploration of self in self “portrait” study.  These images were done with a purpose in mind, I truly believe that I only can recognize my OWN vision in my art by recognizing myself and my place in the world.  I know that I open myself up to criticism about self indulgence and although that may be true on some level, at the heart of it I feel in every fiber of my being that until I know myself fully I cannot judge others – be it their intentions or their beliefs.  This is huge for me.  So huge that it defies explanation, it’s an experience one has to live.

Ok, I’m bearing my soul here, some of these are dumb, silly, cute and just plain WTF inducing.  Enjoy!


This shot (above) makes me smile, I like the eyesmile here.  🙂



I found this tutorial on this hair do on Pinterest, it’s one of my favorite shots – isn’t that funny?  It doesn’t show anything of ME but I love it


I’m including this one because it’s sort of dumb, me hanging off the bed seeing how gravity deals with my facial structure


This shot is in the SkyLofts at MGM Grand after I left a party at WPPI 2011 last year.  All of Vegas at my feet (as if!).


My extremely talented friend Dena made me this awesome scarf (which I wrapped around my head as a joke)  I like how the photos of my daughters are in the background of this shot


This seriously grainy shot was taken at House Of Blues, super dark in the restaurant but I liked the ceiling behind/above me and the memories associated with this night out with my husband to see CAKE


Finally this was taken at home, I like the light as it falls on my face and how the shadows are filled with skin color



I’m sure there’s a treat in store at the next stop on our Exploration blog circle, you will be visiting  Arroyo Grade California fine art children’s photographer  next, she’s a talented friend (and I look forward to meeting her face to face in the next week at WPPI 2012!!)


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  • Gina K. - February 13, 2012 - 10:10 am

    Love this! Great self portrait exploration, and you can tell that you are really enjoying the process. You definitely have some FB profile keepers in there :).

  • Nichole Van - February 13, 2012 - 10:24 am

    LOVE that you shared this, Mare! Not only do I love seeing your cute face, but I love your sense of wonder with what it means to just be human, haha. Love it!

  • wendy - February 13, 2012 - 2:31 pm

    OK, I love that you did this for this month’s post! Being in front of the camera is so hard for me. I love that you are exploring “self”. And you are too cute!!!

  • kamee june - February 13, 2012 - 5:50 pm

    i think we should make this one of our themes for one of the months: self portraits! i really enjoyed this, so much! cheers, to you!!

  • jefra - February 13, 2012 - 10:28 pm

    I love this whole theme! What a cool idea for an Elevate post. And number two – the earring – the best!!!

  • Jennifer N - February 14, 2012 - 12:04 am

    you are so fun! you all should make a self portrait fine art month 🙂

  • Cara - February 14, 2012 - 5:27 am

    What an interesting fine art concept. and executed with your phone, nonetheless.

  • Renee P - February 18, 2012 - 10:23 am

    How fun! Getting in front of the camera can be so hard

  • elizabeth pellette - February 26, 2012 - 11:58 am

    love to see your beautiful face

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