Tangaroa College Self-Portrait Project

9 lessons

Collecting Personal Imagery

In this lesson you will source and collect imagery relating to your own sense of identity.

Lesson menu


  • Collect relevant imagery in an attempt to visually represent yourself 
  • Learn how to do quick visual tests, without overthinking  


  • Phone/camera

Guiding questions

Think about these questions as you work your way through the lesson:

  • What does each item you have collected mean to you? 
  • How might this relate to your sense of identity?
  • When you are collecting these items, how are they making you feel (proud, nostalgic, embarrassed ... ) Note how you can try to represent these feelings.  


  1. 1

    Collect and source imagery related to you

    • You are refining lesson 3 by searching for imagery more specific to your culture (i.e. Samoan), religion, gender, nationality, community, etc. 
    • You may also look at your own photos that show elements of your identity (i.e. you dressed in cultural attire to show you are a Cook Islander)

    Note: Miss Papali'i's example for this lesson can be found in the link to her blog below.

  2. 2

    Look at what you have collected

    Analyse what you have picked and HOW it talks about your identity. 

  3. 3

    Make notes in your workbook as you go

    Now you should have a rough idea of what your project is going to look like or what part of your identity it is going to address. 

  4. 4

    End by posting in your blog for lesson 4

    See the learning from Miss Papali’i for lesson 4 in her blog.

Lesson Content

  1. It is time to brainstorm and source your own visual imagery. At this research/hunting and gathering stage, it may be a good idea to look at photographs you have already taken or have been taken of you. Collect some imagery or objects that represent you (this could be found through family photo albums, social media, or even little doodles/sketches, anything goes).

    In doing this you are creating a visual language purely for yourself, something completely unique to you.  Once you have collected everything, try pairing things together, do some quick tests, and photograph these on your phone or camera. These can be rough and don’t have to look polished, it's all about getting ideas flowing. 

    Lesson Content

    Susuga Malietoa Laupepa (1841–1898), King of Samoa, sitting for a portrait in 1893

Tips & tricks

  • Don’t overthink these steps, just collect as much as possible without thinking too hard about it 
  • Once you have collected everything, then you can analyse why you picked it and why it's important
  • By pairing up the things you have collected (e.g. a photograph of you and a special object from your room), you are beginning to tell a story visually. This can be an interesting way to start a project. 
  • Keep an open mind, there is no right or wrong image/object, if it speaks to you in some way, collect it!

Next lesson


Clarifying Your Intent