Social Media Portrait Reflection Point

Brief: If you have a social media profile picture, write a paragraph describing the ‘you’ it portrays. What aspects of yourself remain hidden? If you were to construct a more ‘accurate’ portrait of yourself, including various aspects of who you are, what would you choose to include? How might you visualise these things? Try creating a new, more honest, self portrait. 

My current profile picture on Facebook and Instagram – Harriet Bartlett

I have noticed that during the past year my social media profile pictures always include my partner Gabs too, as though she is my conjoined twin or something. If I think about it I guess I choose photos with Gabs in too because a) I look more relaxed in them as I don’t feel as self conscious when someone else is being photographed with me as when I am the sole subject and b) Potential viewers of my profile picture can see less about me as an individual, therefore I am making myself feel more comfortable again. My social media profile picture shows at least one truth about me – I am not looking at the camera, avoiding eye contact which shows my social anxiety perhaps. The picture is in black and white so that does not give away the colour of my hair, other than that it is relatively dark, nor the colour of my eyes or the clothing that I am wearing. In the past I have had quite abstract photographs of myself such as blurred, low light or very close up images but this one is quite an honest photograph showing me smiling and relaxed. I think I was on a day trip to an arboretum here, I am in my element. However, a viewer could look at this image and deduce that I am always happy and relaxed which is far from the truth – the relaxed part at least.

If I was to make a more honest self portrait of myself it would have more layers. In an assignment for my previous OCA course Context and Narrative I used photographs of myself from my personal archives and layered them with more recent pieces of my identity so this comes to mind here although I still think this is a little too confusing to be an honest self-portrait in this case. I would want to include aspects of my personality, my passions, struggles and goals in life but this would be difficult to cram in to one photograph. I recently visited an exhibition at Hestercombe house of the work of Trish Morrissey and this exercise reminds me of her interpretation of Miss Ware – Morrissey designed a hat which was covered in phsycial representationsof Miss Ware’s known personality traits and passions (a mini easel, some 3D birds, an accordian ect). Please see the post corresponding to this exhibition here. Perhaps this is something I could do? I was thinking perhaps of drawing a huge mind map of everything that makes up ‘me’ and holding it above my head, or in the style of Grayson Perry I could use lots of images or drawings or words or a combination of both and combine them all together to make one composite that outlines my entire identity. A collage perhaps?

Below is my attempt at a more honest self-portrait. The selfie with my very favourite being, Fraser, sums me up quite well on it’s own but wouldn’t necessarily illustrate some of the core aspects of my personality to someone who didn’t know me. Obviously I could never add with text, or otherwise, every single aspect of my ‘self’ to one image but here I have added a few things that came to mind, both positive and negative and neutral and which can be applied to me directly. These post-it notes have added another layer to my self portrait and therefore add more information about myself (from my own point of view of course!).

Honest Self Portrait


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