Seven Photographers Bring New Energy to Self-Portraiture
They offer fresh directions to one of the oldest photographic genres.
Excerpted from VICE. Written by Jonathan Feinstein.
Seven Photographers Bring New Energy to Self-Portraiture. For years, between commercial shoots and documentary projects, Angela Cappetta has photographed on the fly, grabbing in-between moments with New York City’s chaotic landscape as her backdrop. On a bus, in a cab, somewhere where the available light is convenient and works, Cappetta makes self-portraits wherever she is. “I always shoot cars,” Cappetta says. “I will always shoot an interior. And then I always shoot myself. It’s not very complicated, and it’s always something available to shoot.”
Many of Cappetta’s photos, which, until recently were all shot on film, look like precursors to selfies. She stares at the viewer, inches from the lens, confident, yet unsure of how she’ll come out. While she may have been able to shoot multiple frames, there’s no screen to trigger a “take it again” response. There’s always an element of anticipation or surprise, often another person sharing Cappetta’s gaze back at the camera. A man on a bus, a mother and child walking behind her on the street, a game of chance that might read differently in today’s iPhone-heavy culture.
In other photographs, shot in a mirror or other reflective surface,
Cappetta’s camera is visible, front and center. But these photos are different than the posturing avatar-style photos of bro-photographers boasting their wares we’ve come to expect—instead they fit into a larger diary of Cappetta’s in-between moments. Pauses getting from here to there.
And still, other, slightly more formal images show Cappetta in more personal spaces. For example, in her apartment, in bed, on a couch, all spaces that are her own, sometimes staring back at the lens, sometimes off in thought. Regardless of the environment and where she directs her gaze, Cappetta’s self-portraits which she continues making to this day, capture a sense of confidence and self-possession—she is in control of her likeness, whether it’s glamorous, fleeting, or somewhere in between