Teachers Lesson Plans

Who are you?: Grade 9-12

Look and Discuss

Discuss in class the meaning and importance of the self-portrait in art. Since the Renaissance, artists have had to meet the challenge of the self-portrait. A self-portrait is the work of an artist who has chosen himself as his subject. According to tradition, artists drew and painted themselves while looking in a mirror. A self-portrait implies that a person is looking at himself from his own point of view, showing what he looks like while revealing some features of his own personality. The medium of photography raised questions about the concepts of author, artist and subject. How have photographers in different eras dealt with the self-portrait while using the qualities inherent in the medium of photography?

With the help of Ilse Bing?s Self-Portrait in Mirrors and various other paintings and photographs, encourage the students to think about the broad themes of the portrait and self-portrait in photography and to create their own work in that genre.