The Self and the Portrait and the Selfie

Alongside learning about compositing in Photoshop, we explored the idea of the Selfie. I began my photographic ventures with self-portraiture. My dear friend took beautiful self-portraits in our freshmen year of high school. I took those images to heart and decided to try them out for myself. It was excited to make beautiful, creative images and having myself as a model is simple.

Once reaching Georgia State to study photography, I found myself far more interested in the conceptual ideas behind photography and photographs. I have trouble attaching to concepts because I find fallacies and ethereal ideals in all of the theories that come up; this caused me to steer away from photographing myself as part of my conceptual exploration. However, my digital photography class made it a mandatory assignment.

It began with just the idea of making a bunch of ourselves in a space just to practice the different tools we can use in Photoshop to mask.

Couch Composite

I included the soft concept of how we are so entranced in our four inch screened phones that anything could happen around us.

But then, we were challenged to add a real concept to our self-portraits while honing our newly learned skills. This led me into a spiral of question marks amongst a very a stressful week of group projects.

An inserted idea was the “selfie” and what a self-portrait meant to social media. I didn’t engage in this conversation for my final piece, but I like the conversations on it. I think it’s interesting that people have become to immersed in immortalizing themselves with selfies. The immortalization has become even more convoluted with Throwback Thursdays where past selves are rematerialized as a part of the immortalization of the self.

However, I did not go that route. The week of this assignment was a hard one for me and I took the opportunity of a self-portrait to find some sort of meditative comfort in the chaos.

GordonTeal_Project 3 Composite

Essentially, I see flowers as healing entities and decided to surround myself with them to relax myself. The time consuming, but mindless, process of masking let me be relieved from the tasks of the week. While the masks are not perfect, I lent that to allowing the chaos to ensue. An absolute removal of the chaos would be untrue. The chaos is there, it is translated into something less harmful. This also, of course, plays into my pictorialist and romanticist identity.

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



A perkĀ of being an art student is always having exhibitions available and advertised for entry. An ambiguous point in being an art student is when professors make entering an exhibition a grade. For the digital photography course that I am taking, we were asked to enter the Low Museum’s exhibition entitled #Masculinity. The idea was to express what masculinity means.

Personally, this word has no real meaning for me in humanity. My upbringing was very open-minded and largely avoided generalizations. What did form a spark was the idea of male birds and their role in sexual displays. In Human gender roles, the woman is the showy object. In aviary gender roles, males are often the entertainers. I used this idea and inserted male bird habits and visual affects onto human males to test out my ideal of masculinity into my own species.

Thus are the results:

masc masc2 masc3 masc4 masc5 masc6 masc7 masc8 masc9 Animal Kingdom (#1) Teal Gordon 13x19in Animal Kingdom (#2) Teal Gordon 13x19in Animal Kingdom (#3) Teal Gordon 13x19in

Masculinity is what you believe it to be. I think masculinity and femininity is something that’s very old-fashioned. There’s a whole new generation of people who aren’t defined by their sex or race or who they like to sleep with. –Johnny Weir

Stuck in the Wrong Art Movement

I have decided that I have been birthed into the wrong art movement. Or rather, to be haughty, contemporary art was birthed in the wrong century. Let’s replace it with romanticism.

I think I can attest that my entire interest in photography is very grounded in Romantic aesthetics. Something grand happened in my History of Photography class when we got into Pictorialism; I mimicked the style, worshipped the photographers, and hailed the painterly. I felt like I found somewhere to fit, until portfolio review happened and uncovered my lack of contemporary matter. Since then, I have been exploring other avenues because that’s the point of school. But somehow I have found my way back into Romanticism.

After realizing that I am in the world of contemporary art, I had to figure out what that meant for me and my love for Romanticism. It led me to wonder about New Romanticism and where nature stands in today’s society as sublime–or as not sublime.

I somehow manage to include some sublime-nature beauty into my work. Here are some scans of 4×5 black and white film for my next project (heavily sitting in the exploration of Romanticism in the contemporary world.)

img003 img004 img005

I have two more, but, out of poor judgement and overcompensation, I scanned them in so high that it crashed my laptop and destroyed the files; so I need to rescan them. Perhaps, I will update with those tomorrow.

Art has a double visage: it looks before and after. Romance is its forward-looking face. The germ of growth is in romanticism. Formalism, on the other hand, consolidates tradition; gleans what has been gained and makes it facile to the hand or the mind; economizes the energy of genius. –George Edward Woodberry

Who’s on First.

A large component of my Studio Photography class has been the notion of the group/team. A couple of weeks ago, I was bogged by having three-five groups project nearly impossibly functioning at the same time.

Also on my mind has been the commercial aspect of the studio lighting portion of the course.

These two things have led me to wonder who’s the artist? Who constitutes the authority over a project? Are photographers that work in the Sears and Walmart studios artists? Do they care? Are the ones that want to be artists called artists? And the ones that don’t care, aren’t? If they consider themself an artist, do they consider their Walmart graduation portraits artwork? Does Walmart own it? Does the artist own it? Does the customer own it?

Part of me hates working in groups because I feel like my ideas and understanding will be stifled while in the group. It takes a very natural fall-in to create a proper environment to enjoy a group project. All the while, I adore feedback and collective brainstorming.

With studio lighting, then, who is the artist? We went to a photography workshop at PPR recently and were told about many stories about shoots with creative input by the client, directors, and the photographers. With all of this, how can one draw the line to who’s on first? Whenever I work on projects, I tend to include mention of anyone who input an idea that helped me reach my end-goal. But we’re in this strange world where one name gets shown; the corporate one.