Week #38: My Personality

“Personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald

Who are you? You are your past, your dreams, your relationships, your actions. You are history, future, memory, aspiration, behavior. You are a collection of millions and billions of gestures and incidents and inspirations and decisions that have come together from before your birth to help assemble your character, your personality.

Your assignment this week is designed to focus you on the creative and storytelling challenges of photography. “Personality” is such a nebulous, amorphous entity. How will you capture yours visually? What objects can you assemble to help demonstrate your personality? What setting should you use? In constructing a scene, there are endless decisions to make to best capture the sentiment you are looking to express.

This is where the “creativity” aspect comes in. Try to think outside the box (lose the box!). Rather than just assemble some props like a camera and flash that showcase your hobbies, and rather than simply taking a self-portrait (we already had that challenge this year!), how can you reveal something deeper about your personality? Here, those old dating questions can come in handy: if you were a vegetable, which vegetable would you be? What is your spirit animal? Describe yourself in 3 words. What color are you? What would be the title of your memoir? Which vehicle best represents your personality? Which breed of cat? Which style of furniture?

Think in metaphors. They will be your friend as you try to turn an abstract into a visual. The photograph might not be an immediately obvious reference to your personality, but with some careful planning and thought, it can reveal an entire world.

Tips and Tuts for this week:

  • Before you even take out your camera, take some notes. What are you trying to capture about yourself? What are various ways to do it? Which are the most unexpected, or interesting, or unique?
  • Make careful use of lighting. A somber dark photo will be more suitable for a serious person whereas the personality of a friendly happy person will shine through in a photo taken during the golden hour.
  • Similarly, think about composition. An extrovert might be better represented with a wide angle, with lots of space and many elements in the shot, whereas a quieter introvert might be better suited with a tight, cozy crop.
  • Also shutter speed, focus, color, and more. Every photographic decision should be careful considered to help tell the story of your personality.

Looking for more inspiration? This creative photographer uses his own shadow as his main prop. Read about how your personality affects your photo style. Reread Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself (fun fact: it is divided into 52 – yes, 52! – sections.)

Extra Credit: No People

To help push you outside the box, this week’s extra credit is to forego the inclusion of any people in your photograph. Tell us about your personality – but do not be in the shot, and do not use any human stand-in’s. This extra constraint should help you think more creatively about how to communicate your personality visually, rather than simply sharing a selfie.

Remember, it is not necessary to work in this Extra Credit piece. It’s extra credit!

Have a challenge idea for 2016?