Creative self portraits by photographers that will inspire you to get in front of the lens | Emotional Storytelling with Twyla Jones Self Portrait Features

Jessica Miles Self Portrait

This year in my Facebook group Emotional Storytelling we have been working to inspire and create new images based on weekly themes.

Self portraits are something I am personally terrible at creating the time to work on, so last week I presented a self portrait challenge to our group and it has been the most rewarding and creatively inspired week for so many of us. I poured over every story and quote these photographers shared to accompany their powerfully beautiful images and I am so honored to feature the faces behind the breathtaking work they share with us every week.

Frida Kahlo once said “I am my own muse. I am the subject I know best. The subject I want to know better." This was our inspiration for the week and it was an incredibly powerful one. Today's features include the stories these photographers shared behind the images and you can look for a second feature later this week.


Nothing is absolute, everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies + goes away. -Frida Kahlo
my birthday portraits.

-Jessica Rasmussen

"I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best." -Frida Kahlo, her words are written underneath the deepest layers of my skin.

-Brittany DeJesus

Self-Portraits have a personal project that I've taken on for this year. They are challenging but teach you so much, mostly about yourself. "Keep true to the rare music in your heart, to the marvelous and unique form that is and shall always be nothing else but you." -Mark Z. Danielewski "House of Leaves"

-Summer Hughes

 Two years ago i was thinner. More beautiful, less wrinkled, and fresher skin. Two years ago i shot self portraits everyday. Two years ago i was broken. Today I’m stronger, wiser, more knowledgeable, and full of love. Today i realize I’m a fighter.  -Kate Boggs

Two years ago i was thinner. More beautiful, less wrinkled, and fresher skin. Two years ago i shot self portraits everyday. Two years ago i was broken. Today I’m stronger, wiser, more knowledgeable, and full of love. Today i realize I’m a fighter.

-Kate Boggs

I am just in my second month creating self portraits.. but wow, it is such a empowering journey.

-Michelle England

 "I used to think I was the strangest person in the world, but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you." -Frida Kahlo  -Jamye Denson

"I used to think I was the strangest person in the world, but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you." -Frida Kahlo

-Jamye Denson

I used to hate taking photos of myself. I always thought I looked weird or awkward and would get so frustrated because other people were able to capture such amazing self portraits without even trying!!! I got used to it though, and have grown to love them. They provide a snapshot of what my life was like in that moment, and it’s fun to look back and see how confident I’ve become.

-Sara Williams

It took me way too many years to finally create some self portraits. Earlier this year I bought this bodysuit in hopes of creating some self portraits, weeks went by & I had yet to even put it back on. One day after a few drinks...lol...I walked into my house & grabbed my camera, and out of several shots these two were my keepers. I definitely need to do this more often because the feeling that comes along with it is amazing.

-Courtney Garbow

I’ve been silently taking in all the talent in this group that I just recently became a part of. I’m usually pretty shy posting right away, but when I saw this weeks theme...I knew I had to participate. First, because I am obsessed with Frida Kahlo. I have lived my life this past year inspired by her and her words while dealing with my own illness. My dream is to one day visit Casa Azul. Secondly, I started doing a lot of self portraits in 2016...partly because as Frida quotes, I am the subject I know best and I do spend a lot of my time alone right now. I also feel so much less pressure than when creating for others and stressing to have their approval. Self portrait photography is cathartic to me and I love to just experiment and do whatever I want. So here is my first post along with my favorite quote by her. "At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can. Don’t build a wall around your own suffering, it may devour you from the inside." ~Frida Kahlo

-Jessica Miles

I brought my tripod, on vacation to New Zealand, just so I could take some “freeing” photos. I think this was the highlight of my trip!

-Amanda Palmer Camp

Self portraiture was my gateway into photography. I vividly remember reading the book The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver who chronicles parts of Frida's life through the eyes of a young man and friend. That was years before i avidly started photographing myself but in many ways i think learning about Frida and her creative healing journey helped set me on my own.

What demands more courage? Seeing yourself fully, or letting others see you? I have always had an easier time showing others my inner self than looking at myself in the mirror. Even through a self-portraiture practice sometimes I feel like my eyes are half closed when I am creating. As if I'm not ready yet to see what I am becoming or from where this thing we call self really originates from. I think of all my sisters out there who have crawled out of the self-depreciation cycle and are ready to see themselves in their full glory.

-Jenny Ann Holden

I see potential in a nervous breakdown. It forces me to up the ante in my art. It forces me to spend copious amounts of time with myself, learning and exploring these demons of mine. It forces me to be more honest and sincere in my art. It forces me to become my own muse.

-Birdie Lyn Pavlik

 I’m not sure I’ve ever posted in this group before… But I have been very inspired by seeing all of the amazing imagery lately. My dad passed away in February and last week I went through my second miscarriage. 1000 times again I will blossom, I will blossom in the rain and the sun, again and again I blossom  -A.M. Stewart

I’m not sure I’ve ever posted in this group before… But I have been very inspired by seeing all of the amazing imagery lately. My dad passed away in February and last week I went through my second miscarriage.
1000 times again I will blossom, I will blossom in the rain and the sun, again and again I blossom

-A.M. Stewart

 “Does your home make you happy? This place, this sanctuary, that we call home should be a place that makes us feel joyful, safe, and at peace. Let your home be a place of beauty. Let it be that your home never makes you feel trapped, stressed, or drained. Having a place of sanctuary is very important for the mental well-being. no matter what happens in the outside world there needs to always be a place for you to balance out and recharge. Let your home be a sanctuary that gives you peace.” ― Avina Celeste -Darla Winn

“Does your home make you happy? This place, this sanctuary, that we call home should be a place that makes us feel joyful, safe, and at peace. Let your home be a place of beauty. Let it be that your home never makes you feel trapped, stressed, or drained. Having a place of sanctuary is very important for the mental well-being. no matter what happens in the outside world there needs to always be a place for you to balance out and recharge. Let your home be a sanctuary that gives you peace.”
― Avina Celeste
-Darla Winn

“So this, I believe is the central question upon all creative living hinges: do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?” - written in one of my favorite books, Big Magic. It’s been awhile since I created for myself. So today I listened to that creative voice that’s been hiding for awhile and made this self portrait. “Some days I am more wolf than woman and I am learning to stop apologizing for my wild.” - Nikita Gill

-Sara Smith Garcia

After contemplating self portraits so much over the last few days, I can now understand why Frida painted so many. We are so multifaceted; one self portrait could never be enough. It will only ever show a part of who we are. To truly share ourselves, it must be a continual process. All three of these images portray pieces of who I am yet still fall so short of the full picture. The beauty of this theme is the introspection it brings about-something I was never expecting when I began my photography journey and have come to realize is so cathartic and fulfilling.

-Evelyn Cirignotta

In high school, at the end of the year, the seniors would write these letters that were published in a book (underground style). Mostly they were filled with inside jokes they shared with friends and sometimes they would also let out all the really mean things they ever wanted to say to anyone. My junior year one of those senior girls singled me out. I can't remember all the mean things she said anymore, just something about playing with my hair. Maybe these are for her.

-Twyla Jones

I am often my own muse but lately I've been hating on myself like nobody's biz. I've gained weight and I'm trying to get rid of it.. My head was shaved and is still growing out and now I hate it.. I have new glasses that I loved but now despise.
I'm just in a weird place looking at myself...

-Melissa Helmick

 Being my own muse is the best gift I can offer my daughters. They see me loving myself, and loving them unconditionally. Do I have day's I avoid glancing at my reflection, heck yes.... Do I have day's where I don't even know where to begin loving myself, for sure.... Are there days where I can't stop playing the comparing game, some days it feels like its all I do.... But I see them, and how they look at me and I try a little harder to see myself through there eyes.  -Nikki Hollett

Being my own muse is the best gift I can offer my daughters. They see me loving myself, and loving them unconditionally.
Do I have day's I avoid glancing at my reflection, heck yes.... Do I have day's where I don't even know where to begin loving myself, for sure.... Are there days where I can't stop playing the comparing game, some days it feels like its all I do....
But I see them, and how they look at me and I try a little harder to see myself through there eyes.

-Nikki Hollett

This is so out of my comfort zone. I suppose growth doesn't happen in the comfort zone.

-Linsey Brigman Davis

This weeks challenge gave me all the feels. Mainly just anxiety. For as long as I can remember I've had a void inside that no matter how hard I try, it can never be filled. A want for love and acceptance, for me. I was never a favorite, I was always different and always felt like a black sheep in my family. So much so that I have one tattooed on me. My methods of healing were always some form of self-sabotage but I can finally say that the method I've been using for the past year has been by far the greatest; photography. I shoot when I'm happy, I shoot when I'm sad, I shoot for my heart and I could only hope that it shows in all of my work. Photography has changed my life and given me an outlet to express myself. That void is still there but is no longer as deep. So, nothing insanely gorgeous like I've seen in here but this is me, vulnerable, in front of my camera.

-Rebecca Burt

I was so excited when this week's challenge was announced! self portraits is definitely an area I want to grow in this year -its hard to feel comfortable on the other side of the camera. On a side note, I've had long hair my entire life - my sister once told me it was "my one beauty”…but as I've gotten older & more comfortable in my own skin, I know I have more beauty then just long, bleach dyed hair - and I still love it long!

-Leah Labourde

"..I am here and as strange as you." -Frida Kahlo

-Alexis Murdach

“I paint flowers so they will not die.” – Frida Kahlo

-Anca Clivet

“I want to be inside your darkest everything” -Frida Khalo
I think self portraits are technically hard and emotionally difficult... They allow us to look at our own imperfection, differently than a mirror image... they force us to see how other people see us, and most of the time we don't like it!

-Erika Trivett

 I rarely do self-portraits, but found myself at some amazing Salt Flats with a camera and dress in the car. It was so interesting/different to try different things and not be afraid to look stupid or have my usual smile. The quote I based these off of: "I tried to drown my sorrows, but the bastards learned how to swim, and now I am overwhelmed by this decent and good feeling."  -Karin Willet

I rarely do self-portraits, but found myself at some amazing Salt Flats with a camera and dress in the car. It was so interesting/different to try different things and not be afraid to look stupid or have my usual smile. The quote I based these off of: "I tried to drown my sorrows, but the bastards learned how to swim, and now I am overwhelmed by this decent and good feeling."

-Karin Willet

I once read that people measure beauty by facial symmetry. This prompt made me take a straight on self portrait, and I saw how my face is just not symmetrical. I almost didn’t post these, but I took them specifically for this prompt. So here they are.

-Aubrey Hone Bahr

"Te quiero más que a mi propia piel". When I was pregnant, I started with self-portraits. Im very happy to done it. You made me braver, more secure and happier. "I love you more than my own skin"

-Alexa Lilayú Boehme


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