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  • Writer's pictureJo Sutherst

Final Major Project: Shoot FMP#7 – Self-Portraits – 08-03-18 ​

“The broad themes of presenting yourself to society have been around for a long time, but it feels like it’s on steroids now. It feels like social media has idealised a version of the self in what has become a narcissistic age. Beauty ideals are getting intensified through so many channels.”

– Melissa Moore, course leader for Hair and Makeup for Fashion at London College of Fashion (Gander 2017)

The current direction of my work is concerned primarily with self-portraits. This is the first shoot involving images of myself in a variety of guises and disguises. I am exploring issues of alienation and the transformation of the female (in particular, but not exclusively) identity in a modern online image conscious world.

The images will be printed at large scale on glossy paper to indicate the reflective process of the process. As humans, we take images we see at face value. I am questioning whether we can believe what we see online.

What does it actually mean to be a woman in the image-conscious world?

Am I deemed a failure if I do not conform to the what is expected?

What does a REAL woman look like? How should she look?

What is the relationship between my external appearance and my internal self?

Photographing myself in this way feels somewhat narcissistic to me. I am self-conscious about the images and felt the same way during the process. However, these images are not about me individually. The resultant images are not concerned with my needs or my interests. They represent no-one and everyone. They are intended to comment about the de-individualisation and standardisation of women (in particular) in our online society.

These images were shot against a black backdrop which doesn’t work for me. In hindsight, I think that the black background is closed and has become part of the narrative of the image. I would rather that the backdrop did not add to the story except in a way that supports and concentrates the viewer’s sight on what is happening with the styling.

I also feel in hindsight that a deadpan expression for all images would be better. My gaze should remain as empty as possible so that the self-portraits could be interchangeable with other people and that the viewer could place themselves in the images.

The use of prosthetics, masks, makeup, and tattoo sleeves will be explored further. I will be re-shooting against a white / light backdrop.

Contact Sheets:

Screen Shot 2018-04-06 at 13.43.12

Figure 1: Sutherst. 2018. Contouring


Figure 2: Sutherst. 2018. Extremes


Figure 3: Sutherst. 2018. Snapchat Filters

Screen Shot 2018-04-06 at 13.43.15

Figure 4: Sutherst. 2018. Reproducing Pip


GANDER, KASHMIRA. 2017. “How Instagram made everyone’s makeup look the same”. The Independent [online]. Available at: [accessed 6 March 2018].

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