The Art of A Self Portrait

May 6, 2020

This week we are elated to feature the work of Damola Akintunde, a photographer and member of our Beautiful Community. Damola often photographs herself in beautiful self portraits so we asked her a few questions about her process, inspiration and tips for creating a self portrait.

What does the self portrait process look like for you during this time?

My process is pretty similar to what I did pre self-isolation but I’m definitely more intentional about what I want to convey in my photos. It includes a lot of self exploration as a form of creativity and a very useful way to stay grounded. 

What was your inspiration?

I wanted to tap into the more whimsical side of myself through my hair and clothing. Basically finding new ways to physically present myself. 

Why create self portraits right now? 

I am the easiest subject to connect to right now and it forces me to find new ways to visually represent the emotions I want to tap into during this time. 

Untitled by Damola Akintunde

As a photographer, why did you choose to step in front of the camera? 

I chose to step in front of the camera initially out of fear. I was not comfortable enough to document other people when I started to do photography and was more willing to do trial and error with myself first. 

Why are self portraits important to you?

Self portraits are important to me because I can use them to explore narratives that are important to me. I have full ownership over the stories I want to portray and it reinforces the authority I have over my lived experiences. 

3 Basic tips for creating a great self portrait:

  1. Great lighting! Lighting is a great way to change the mood or focus in an image. 
  2.  Imagine the emotions you want to convey as you are shooting to make it easier. 
  3. Create a mood board with poses for inspiration!

Based in North Carolina, Damola Akintunde is a photographer that utilizes visuals as a form of expression of the self. She uses self-portraiture to capture her own personal story as a Nigerian-American woman, in addition to lending herself as a tool for others to align their self perception with their physical presentation, turning them into art. You can see her work via her instagram.

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