Over many years, self-portraiture has become its own distinct genre of art through various
mediums, mainly through paintings, sculpture, and photography. As we look at the history of
self-portraiture and various artists, we uncover the inspiration, motivation, and vision behind
self-portraiture. Why has it become such an important part of the artist’s creative practice?
How do we face certain fears of taking self-portraits? What are important differences between
the popular selfie and a fine art self-portrait?
While exploring the answers to these questions, fine-art photographer Manuela Thames guides
you through the many creative aspects of compelling self-portraiture from concept to the final
image. She includes practical and technical tips for a successful session, lighting, focus, props,
location, and camera settings. In addition, Manuela shares the meaning and importance of
cohesion in a fine-art series and writing an artist statement.
Whether you already have experience with self-portraiture and want feedback and assistance
with putting together a series or you’re ready to embark on the first-time adventure of being
both behind and in front of the camera, this workshop offers a safe space for stepping outside
your comfort zone in the spirit of exploration, experimentation, and vulnerability.
Working knowledge of digital workflow and manual mode on your digital SLR or mirrorless camera. Participants must be able to download and select images using image editing software for class sessions.
Manuela Thames is a photographic artist based in Saint Paul, Minnesota where she lives with her husband and two children. Born and raised in Germany, she moved to the US in 2004 after marrying her American husband. Shortly thereafter she began her photography journey after two life changing events happened within one year, the birth of her first son and the death of her brother.
Largely self-taught, Manuela uses various photographic techniques to explore themes around loss and grief, her personal experience with generational trauma, as well as the notions of belonging, connection and what it means to be human. Within that she continues to explore human ways of coping, the strength that evolves out of suffering and our common desire for healing and journey towards wholeness. Much of her work consists of black and white, conceptual self-portraits.
Manuela’s photography has been described as contemplative, evocative, dark, and cinematic and has been widely exhibited nationally as well as internationally. Her “Trauma” series won 1st place conceptual series of the year in the Monovisions Award in 2019, and in the same year she won the 13th Julia Margaret Cameron Award in the Self-Portrait Category. In addition, her work has been published online and in print in such places as Black and White Magazine, Sun Magazine, Dohdo Magazine and Shots Magazine.