self portrait

by Jiheng Yan

In the summer, I passed my MPR with a series photos of street corners that represent my emotional transformation during the past two years since I came San Francisco. After working on this project for almost one year. I started to have a different negative feeling about this project. I don't know if it is just me or maybe many other photographers are experiencing the similar situation. For photographers who want to show their state of mind, I feel it is always hard to get photos which relate to my own experience. In this case, I started to consider creating a new body of work for my final review.

Recently, I have been to San Jose Museum of Art (SJMA) to see the latest exhibitioncalled 'This is not a selfie.'  Mostly, the self-portraits are permanent collections of Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). LACMA organized the exhibition years ago. And nowSJMA is exhibiting the newer version of this collection by adding more recent self-portraits in it. The exhibition was impressing. 'This is not a selfie' contains works by Diane Arbus, Cindy Sherman, Nan Goldin, etc. After this show, I am thinking about creating a new series of work of self-portraits. One of the photographs that interest me most is Peter Keetman's work named '1001 Gesichter'. The image is a self-portrait of reflection of him on an enormous amount of waterdrops. In the background of the photo, it's a vague face of him.

 Picture 1: Peter Keetman, ‘1001 Gesichter’,1957

Picture 1: Peter Keetman, ‘1001 Gesichter’,1957

Inspired by his work, I was trying to take a self-portrait of myself on waterdrops. So I decided to use a waterproof film camera with flash on it. The result of this roll of film turned out not as what I expected. But I got a photograph that I am satisfied with. 

 Picture 2: Jiheng Yan, Untitled, 2017

Picture 2: Jiheng Yan, Untitled, 2017