Tangaroa College Self-Portrait Project

9 lessons

Hunt and Gather

In this lesson, you will do individual research of relevant photographers to your project.

Lesson menu


  • Find examples of work, artists, and research that interests you
  • Begin to think how you will add to these discussions


  • Device

Guiding questions

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

  • What type of branch of identity research interests you/is relevant to you?
  • Analyse the work you like, why do you like it? 


  1. 1

    Hunt and Gather

    Use google to search for self-portraits working with the following aspects of identity:

    • Cultural identity
    • Gender identity 
    • National identity 
    • Collective identity 
    • Religious identity 
    • Disability identity

    Gather work that resonates with you from as many different sources as you can. At this stage, try not to consciously filter too much, just keep it simple. If you like it, gather it. 


    Example of a search into cultural identity in self-portraiture

  2. 2


    The next step will be to analyse the work you’ve just gathered. Describe the specific features that drew you to the photo in the first place. Is it landscape or portrait? Maybe you like the framing. Fight the urge to say you just like all of it, and try to zoom in on the specifics so that when it comes to taking your own photograph. Your thoughts can be drawings as well as words. 


    Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, 1940, By Frida Kahlo

  3. 3


    What techniques can you identify that the photographer used to create the image? Close-ups, distant shots, angles, reflections. The iPhone photography school provides examples of techniques you might like.

    Example: What do you notice in Self-portrait with side of pe'a, Basque Road, Newton Gully. Greg Semu, 1995. seen below.

  4. 4


    End by posting in your blog for lesson 3. See the learning from Miss Papali’i for lesson 3 in her blog.

Tips & tricks

The key to this research stage is to gather as much ‘visual goodness’ as possible.

Also, look for styles of photography you genuinely like. Are you into collage work, landscapes, or traditional portraiture? Ask yourself, Why did they use these techniques, styles, or genres? Then most importantly, ask yourself why you like the work.

Try to be as critical and descriptive as possible when answering this. Doing all this will help you to understand what you are visually attracted to and hopefully make the next few stages easier.

iPhone photography school provides insight into what can be captured within a photo and how this may influence your thinking also. 

Next lesson


Collecting Personal Imagery