For National Selfie Day, Our Favorite Self-Portraits

Rotating self-portrait by the artist Nadar, 1865

“I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.” — Frida Kahlo

Why do people make self-portraits? Frida Kahlo, a famous self-portraitist, gives one reason. Here are some others:

  • Convenience: A self-portrait uses the subject that’s always at hand: the artist. (Of course, they became more practical when affordable mirrors hit the market.)
  • Money: When hiring a model isn’t an option.
  • Fun: Don’t tell us these artists didn’t get a kick out of hiding themselves in paintings.
  • Introspection: As Kahlo suggested, painting oneself is a way of investigating the person you know best. It’s also an opportunity to say something more.
  • Empowerment: A self-portrait is a way of celebrating oneself and holding up the version of yourself you want the world to see — especially if you don’t see people like you in the art canon.

In an age in which we keep both a mirror and a phone in our pockets, the self-portrait is more popular than ever. To celebrate National Selfie Day today, we’re sharing some of our favorite blog posts about self-portraits. Read the posts below and see why you think these self portraits were painted, photographed, and collaged:

Cake, oil, by Lizzy Lunday. Winner of the Oerth Kirstein Award for Best in Show in “Op-Ed.” (Read the Q&A here)

To and Fro, mixed media, by Fierce Sonia. Winner of the Anne Banks Collage Award. (Read the Q&A here)

“Hairtraits” created by girls in the Space of Her Own mentorship program. (Read the blog post here)

Claire Carroll, Woman Shoots Man (read the artist Q&A here)

What are some of your favorite self-portraits? Why do you think they were created? Let us know in the comments!

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