Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPselfportrait

Weekend Hashtag Project is a series featuring designated themes & hashtags chosen by Instagram’s Community Team. For a chance to be featured on the Instagram blog, follow @instagram and look for a photo announcing the weekend’s project every Friday.

This week, Oxford Dictionaries named “selfie” the 2013 word of the year.

Selfie noun, informal (also selfy; plural selfies) a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website

We’ve seen the reappearance of the first selfie tagged on Instagram this week, but selfies actually have a history that stretches back far further than just Instagram: the self portrait. Dating back to the very earliest cave paintings, self portraiture came to the fore in the mid-1400s during the Early Renaissance (in part due to the rise in availability of mirrors). It wasn’t until four centuries later, however, that the first photographical self-portrait emerged as part of Robert Cornelius’s work on perfecting the daguerreotype. As cameras became more advanced and readily available over the years, so too did self-portraits become increasingly more common. Now, with cameras almost always within our reach, a self portrait can happen anytime, anywhere.

The goal this weekend is to tap into this rich artistic tradition and stage a creative self portrait. Some tips to get you started:

  • just like any photo, lighting can make or break your self portrait. Look for soft, natural light near a window or—if you’re feeling adventurous—come up with your own lighting set-up.
  • Your background is very important. Look for a plain or patterned background for a more traditional portrait. Find an interesting location or create a scene in the background to tell a story.
  • You don’t have to be holding your phone to capture the photo. Explore using photo timer apps and mobile tripods to take the photo on your own. You can also have a friend step in to snap the final photo once you’ve set everything up.

PROJECT RULES: Please only add the #WHPselfportrait hashtag to photos taken over this weekend and only submit your own photographs to the project. Any image taken then tagged over the weekend is eligible to be featured right here Monday morning!