Planning and Preparation

For this assignment, I have taken my Tutor’s suggestion of recruiting volunteers to be my subjects from beyond my friends and family. I am involved with a student group that meets by internet video link once a month and I put out a request for my fellow students to take part. This is my original email request:

I am on my last assignment for PH5SAO which is the ‘Self Directed Project. For this assignment, I am exploring an idea of the politics of self. I believe that we all present masks as identity, which we typically regarded as a ‘front’. We all put on a ‘front’ that changes depending on who we are with, (our audience) = friends, family, colleagues, etc. These people in turn present their own masks back to us and to each other. Due to this pandemic, we are all having to physically wear masks in public places; so masks have become the new normal.


I am looking for volunteers to send me selfies using either their phones or tablets or even using a computer, if equipped with a camera.  Wearing or holding a mask in front of their face. PPE masks and fancy dress masks / anything my volunteers can think of to use as a mask. They can use as many masks as they like, but just one selfie for each mask.


Also, I would like my volunteers to find a Celebrity that they can identify with or a Celebrity they would like to be identified with, then Google a headshot picture of that person on their phone then hold the image in front of their face, with the image facing out and get a selfie photograph (This will require a smartphone and a mirror, or a second person with a camera) The idea is to get a selfie with the celebrities face as mask/front.

(Suggested examples that I provided with my email.)
Thank you all.
Kind regards Shaun Mullins 512659.

As a result of this request I was invited to talk about my project to my fellow students during a video meeting on 18, January, 2021. Having accepted this golden opportunity, I prepared myself by creating a log line and a pitch.

Log line: ‘Every profound spirit needs a mask‘ (Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, 1888).

The Pitch: In the politics of self we put up a front to others, and this is worn as a type of mask that projects as well as it guards.

I also put out a request on Facebook, but I only got one response, through face book. However my student group was very successful, and with the help from my wife and friends. I got sixteen volunteers who provided me with selfies wearing masks and some including celebrities or names of celebrities for me to add.

I then had an idea to create an interactive collage, in which when viewed online from my blog or another website the small selfies could be enlarged by simply hovering the mouse over them. Unfortunately, I could not discover a way to do it. I Googled online but could not find any instructions on such a feature, I am sure it can be done, but I lack the I.T. training and skills. I also asked my Tutor, but he could not help, so I then tried putting out a request through my student forum, but to no avail.

My only solution was to simply create a non active collage through Photoshop and create a slide show to show off the individual images. The collage was created using layers for each picture, which I turned into smart objects in the hope that by doing so I could add a file link for the interactive feature, but I if this is possible I could not discover how to do it; so I have kept the original work as a PSD without flattening all the layers for possible future development and created a copy as a JPEG to use on this occassion.

I found two books very useful for referring to when writing my 500 word essay for my final work. The Cruel Radiance, 2012, Susie Linfield, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. The Self-Portrait A Cultural History, 2015, by James Hall, London: Thames & Hudson.

Published by shauncn512659

Hi, I am an OCA student studying for an Art degree in Photography , my student number is 512659. My e-mail is: shaun512659@oca.ac.uk

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