Urban Decay / Arty Self Portrait.

(Brian Innes) #1

Inspired by a talk at my photography club from a photographer who does portraiture / nudes in derelict buildings, I thought I’d have a go myself! The location was the old ruined stable block at Dunmore Park Estate, near Airth, Scotland.

Model was myself, wearing a painters protective coverall, respirator, goggles and sunglasses. Goodness knows what anyone who saw me thought I was doing :laughing:

A bit of a mad rush to get posed with the 10 second self timer on the camera!

Image post processed in Darktable.

This was my first real attempt at (self) portraiture. Might submit it to my photography clubs monthly competitions, and see what feedback I get :slight_smile: Certainly was a fun shoot!


(Elle Stone) #2

I’m guessing you you took a huge step outside your comfort zone to make that self-portrait! I get very self-conscious when using my camera in public, much more so if I were trying to do a self-portrait, which might be why this recent petapixel article hit a chord:


I like your self-portrait. It would be interesting to see what the image would look like/read like if you were facing the camera dead-center and that were the only change.

I’m assuming there is a message in your choice of clothing to wear - the image would read very differently if you were wearing a business suit or jeans or a kilt or etc.

Are you thinking about doing a series of self-portraits in abandoned building? It would be fascinating to see how the clothing, pose, and backdrop would change over time if you pursued your intended message in this image through multiple self-portraits over time.

(Pat David) #3

I was going to write more, but then @Elle said mostly what I was thinking anyway. :slight_smile:

One of the things I find interesting about nudes in an abandoned setting is the contrast between smooth curves and soft features of a nude person vs. the harder edged decay of the surroundings (also, the same type of contrast between the “death and decay” of abandonment vs. the “life and vitality” of a living model - assuming they’re alive, no judgement). Might be something neat to consider for your next shot? @Elle’s comment about a business suit made me think it would be cool to see another layer of contrast with a suit or other formal type of clothing that is “organized” juxtaposed against the “disarray” of the location.

Of course, your portrait could also be a neat shot of you taking a break at your job? :wink:

(Glenn Butcher) #4

Oh, the social implications are significant. We increasingly want to insulate ourselves from the grittiness of the world. Nah, it’s just a worker in a ‘poopy suit’ taking a break.

On the photography, I just love industrial/mechanical subjects in monochrome.

(dumb) #5

Count me in on uber-industrial textures.


Images like yours have a ghostly feel which does unsettle, but I feel as if adding digital punch to the ‘analog’ grit and mess makes things stand out a lot more. It’s far more aggressive.


I like the image. I have the same attire. I normally wear loose clothing so the photo gives me a constricted kind of feeling, which is suitable for the location.

I wonder if @Brian_Innes would be confortable in his bday suit. :thinking:

(Glenn Butcher) #7

Monochrome give you a lot of freedom with tonality, you’re not having to worry about messing up those dainty colors… :smile:

(dumb) #8

Colours also get the ‘beat the hell out of them’ treatment in my work. I only have to be careful in not being careful.

(Brian Innes) #9

Lol, perhaps I did also do an arty self portrait, sans clothing :wink: I don’t feel too happy sharing that on here though… Particularly since I was still wearing the respirator & goggles at the time… :flushed: :laughing:

@Elle, yes I would say I took a big step outside my comfort zone to take such a self portrait, particularly wearing a “costume” for effect. I do think I’ll submit it to my photography clubs next monthly competition, although no doubt I’ll get feedback about the model not being in a particularly interesting pose…

Anyway, if I do experiment more with arty self portraits, then perhaps I’d best invest in a wireless remote for the camera. Sadly the £3 infra red remote was useless as the camera didn’t pick it up due to ambient light… At least with a wireless remote I could hide it in my hand or something after pressing it…

@Joan_Rake1, I may redit the image, and add some more grain etc to give it a bit more impact.

Anyway, thanks everyone for the replies. It certainly was a fun shoot, and certainly was outwith my comfort zone. :grinning:

(dumb) #10

Definitely, don’t be afraid to mutilate the colours if you know what you’re doing with them. Keep in mind that if you’re going for a properly industrial effect, you shouldn’t be putting in a lot of hues which are too high - I’d aim somewhere between a screaming yellow and a punching red in most cases. Throw in hazy smoke and a bit of dry ice, maybe even some brightly-burning fire and some blue flames. Squish contrast out of images using local normalisation. Perhaps you can even add some old screens with some radar-like things being displayed on them. Lastly, be careful not to dull the effects by shoving that sparkly pastel sheen that so many people use nowadays to sugarcoat the experience. For me ‘industrial’ is far more Winterkälte than Macintosh Plus.

(Brian Innes) #11

As an update, I’ve submitted that image above, into my photography clubs monthly competition. It will certainly be interesting to see what the judge makes of it :slight_smile: I’ll find out on Tuesday the 4th of December at the club night.

(Brian Innes) #12

Lol, well the image didn’t go down to well with the judges. 13 marks out of 20, as they didn’t “get the story behind the image”. :roll_eyes: Meanwhile the winning image last night was a rather generic red squirrel on a branch eating some nuts…

(Mica) #13

I think we enjoyed it, so you have that going for ya :wink:

(Brian Innes) #14

@paperdigits, it seemed the judges didn’t like very much at all in the competition :slight_smile: Still, I had fun doing the shoot, and editing the photo, and that’s all that matters at the end of the day :slight_smile:


You just need a red squirrel on your shoulder next time, like a super villan. :slight_smile: