Katharina Sieverding

Katharina Sieverding was born in Prague, 1944. She is now based in Dusseldorf and Berlin and she is known best for her self-portraiture photography which has been a long-term study of her own identity. 

Sieverding has used a variety of techniques to abstract her own image, such as her use of silhouette, contrast, solarization, etc. and over 40 years, her work has reflected the issue of ‘identity as individuality and collective individual’ which has had a great influence on contemporary photographic art.

My faceless self portraits

Faceless Research (E. Bellocq)

Faceless Research (hiding)

Faceless Research (hiding)

Faceless Research (edited/manipulated)

Faceless Research (edited/manipulated)

Faceless Portraiture

When we were assigned to research into Faceless Portrait Photography and to take our own faceless self-portrait, the first thing that came to my mind was the work of Rene Magritte and his famous painting The Son of Man (top image). It was a self-portrait of Magritte which consists of him in a suit and bowler hat, with a green apple obscuring his face.

From this, I researched ‘faceless portraits’, looking for other work where objects have been used or edited into photographs to obscure a person’s face. I came across the work of photographer, Bryan Durushia, on bloodyloud.com and smashingpicture.com (2nd & 3rd images) who is inspired by nature and in some photographs, uses objects such as pumpkins and paper bags to obscure faces and in others, uses editing software to remove facial features. 

I also found the work of Holly Wilmeth, featured in an article on artsobserver.com (bottom 3 images). I personally found the natural appearance of some of her work aesthetically pleasing and thought that there was something quite pure about them.

Faceless Portraiture - Long Exposure

When thinking of long exposure portraits, James Blake’s album cover was the first image that I thought of. I like that his features are still slightly visible, however, thought to look for other photographs where the exposure is long enough so that facial features are not visible at all.

Searching ‘long exposure portraits’, I came across the work of London based photographer, Mark Denton (2nd image), on his blog. I personally liked how the outline of his head was still visible in the photograph despite how the rest of his face is completely blurred.

My examples of portrait lighting

My examples of portrait lighting

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn