Sunday, May 17, 2009


My Shoes, Oakland, May 2007.

Photographers can be very reluctant subjects for portraits, unless we're talking about Cindy Sherman, of course. Yet even the most reclusive photographer finds it difficult to resist taking a picture of himself, even if he's a mere shadow on a wall or a specter behind a lace curtain. Many of the self-portraits here, like the ones of Duane Michals, Jan Saudek or Lee Friedlander, clearly belong to their body of work. Others were made for more personal reasons; Diane Arbus' half-naked self-portrait, for example, was her way of announcing to her husband abroad that she was pregnant. As for Doisneau and Bresson's self-portraits, we know now that when it comes to selfies, even the greatest photographers can be corny sometimes.

Edward Weston, 1911. Walker Evans, 1927.

Alfred Stieglitz, 1890.

Margaret Bourke-White, 1933. Brassaï, 1932.

Diane Arbus, 1945. Berenice Abbott, c. 1930.

Jan Saudek, 1984. (Four from a series of six pictures)

Henri-Cartier Bresson, 1932. Lee Friedlander, 1966.

André Kertész, 1933.

Duane Michals, 1968.

Cecil Beaton, 1938. Robert Doisneau, 1953.

Ralph Steiner, 1929. Weegee, 1940.

Ilse Bing, 1947. Yousuf Karsh, 1947.

Bill Brandt, 1965. Robert Frank, 1947.

W. Eugene Smith, 1968. Édouard Boubat, 1948.

Graciela Iturbide, 1977. Mary Ellen Mark, 1979.

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