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Are all self-portraits painted before the invention of photography, mirror images?

Are all self-portraits painted before the invention of photography, mirror images?

Martin Grundy from Hampshire (Age 45-54) 


One Response

  1. HI Martin :).
    Many probably were. For example, Vincent-van-Gogh produced 0ver12 self portraits in a 3year period from1886, his mutilated ear indicating that his right side in the image was in fact the left side of his face. However, I wonder how many artists twigged the idea of using a second reflector to re invert the image. May I suggest that some interesting experiments can be carried out using two or more reflectors and oneself as the ‘Object viewed’. – Firstly, how many images can be visible at the same time and secondly, consider how these alternative ‘selves’ posses opposite handedness??- A clever application of reflection is made in ‘Pepper’s Ghost’ which you may also like to examine. The photographic printing process has been generally available to artists since the early 19th century following the invention perfected by Englishman William Fox Talbot in 1839. During the 16th Century a method of projection using the ‘Camera Obscura’ was invented and the recording of an image became commercially feasible later- in 1826 when a French inventor called Joseph Nieper (1765-1833) took the first reported photograph using a camera obscura to project an image onto a metal plate which he had coated with light-sensitive chemicals- But the exposure time was 8hours ! During the 500 years since the Renaissance and the development of ‘Naturalism’ in the 15th Century through the use of oil paint, about 60 accomplished artists have captured likenesses of themselves and whilst calm pools of water were no doubt the first accurate reflectors observed, other smooth, flat, shiny surfaces were found in polished metals and glass. More recently distorted images, employing curved surfaces and now digital processing have enabled artists to portray alternative views and to exaggerate certain aspects of themselves.
    I hope this answers your question about self portraiture and the techniques which artists have employed throughout the ages.
    Good Luck,

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