Monday, 28 September 2009

Current self portraits #1

As I've mentioned before, I'm a competing bodybuilder and... well to be frank, it's an incredibly lonely and time consuming sport. under my instruction i asked for a fellow gym rat to take a certain amount and style of photos whilst i worked out on a random day, just to see if i could portray that kind of emotion in a single photo of myself at the gym.

i absolutely love these portrait-eqsue photos and am contemplating running with this theme of isolation, alienation, the whole 'blood sweat and tears' ethic of a bodybuilder...after all it's who i am.
Feel free to check out this link, get a feel for what it is to be a bodybuilder, and devote yourself to something, putting it ahead of's a long lonely road, that doesn't end.

At an initial glance, you are given a quite clear tone to the pictures. the gray scale colour already alienates the viewer from the subject (myself). the fact the face, the most giveaway sign of oneself is hidden behind a hood, which again, isolates the subject, it almost closes it off and the hood implies the intent of wanting to remain unknown to the viewer. its a hostile set of photos, the aggressive nature of the dark face immediately begs you to liken it to something such as the grim reaper or assassin of an older time.

the most interesting thing i always thought about the photos when i had the finished images, was the fact that, although the I'm made out to look very hostile and withdrawn from everything, I'm actually in a public place surrounded by people! it just goes to show, that yes, alot of portraits have a backdrop which holds significance to the subject matter, but it's not always as straight forward as it would seem. In this example, although i am made out to look very bleak and morbid, I'm actually only carrying out something that can be done by anyone who wants to walk through the gym doors...the only difference is HOW I DO IT and what it means to me.

lighting plays a huge amount in the theme of any portrait, it can turn a smile from a happy one to a sinister one with just a fraction of relocation.

This picture taken of Saddam Hussein at his tribunal, shows one of the planets most evil men in an almost sympathetic and pitiful way. don't you think? NO! don't just agree with what I'm saying, although this picture was released by the Iraqi special tribunal, because of out human predispositions, we already see a monster, despite how the photo is taken. the cast of dark on one side of his face, even if you were'nt from earth, would tell you, as the light enhances his demonic glare, that this is a photo of someone no good.
More to come .... :)


  1. Dear Elliot,

    How interesting that you should pick up on the loneliness of the bodybuilder; I read a v. interesting book once about the world of the professional gym-bunny: see

    It wasn't a very happy story, I'm afraid! I've got an interesting question for you; why are you building your body? Are you becoming different - or more like you are? Is this you, or are you making a new you - and if so, why? Answers on a postcard please... :-)

  2. the book 'muscle' is actually a well known book in the bodybuilding circuit, some professionals etc. can relate in some way, i'm yet to read it, but will consider trying to get hold of a copy.

    as for the answer to your questions, they shall revealed tomorrow, when i upolad a few more images to perhaps 'cement' a few hard truths about myself.