The Self-Portrait Phenomenon


We can’t deny that the “self-portrait” has been gaining popularity recently. The position of photographer and the subject are blended together. Tseng Kwong-chi (1950-1990), a Chinese artist, is known for his self-portrait series in which he wore the same Chinese tunic and photographed himself infront of famous memorials.

Photo is taken from Fotomen

Tseng Kwong-chi (曾廣智) was born in Hong Kong and then immigrated to the United States in the late 70s. He was educated in Paris and Vancouver. His photographic works are said to show how he was influenced by both the Chinese and Western cultures.

Photos are taken from Fotomen

What impresses people most are his self-portrait series. His pictures were taken in front of different famous and iconic tourist spots. In every picture the variable he’d play around with was the location, while the subject matter, himself, would remain a constant as would his outfit, a Chinese tunic suit, topped off with a pair of sunglasses. His face, emotionless, and his posture straight and erect.

Photos are taken from Fotomen

His posture is regarded as his “signature”. Even though in some pictures, people can hardly see his face they are able to recognize him through his posture. Seeing him standing in front of the landmarks, some may think of him as just another Chinese tourist. However, It’s not only a travel image but a photo representing societal and cultural concepts. He is said to be an “inquisitive traveler” – a witness of time and an ambiguous ambassador.

Credits: ginnys & vgzalez

This may show us that the self-portrait genre isn’t a recent hit but one that’s been in the lexicon of photographers and artists since the beginning of art! Apart from artists like Tseng, every Lomographer is able to enjoy the happinesses and satisfaction brought about by taking self-portraits! You can either take the reflection of yourself through the mirror or set up a tripod! Don’t have the equipment you need? Get them from our Online Shop!

If you like this article, we suggest:
Are They Truly Self-portraits?

This article is inspired by an entry on Utata

written by heiwa on 2012-09-17 #news #art #chinese #black-and-white #self-portrait #artist #photographer #tseng-kwong-chi #


  1. ginnys
    ginnys ·

    Thanks so much for choosing my Self-Portrait! ;)

  2. heiwa
    heiwa ·

    @ginnys You are welcome! It looks gorgeous!

  3. romanfrozzt
    romanfrozzt ·

    Fotomen's shots are great :)

  4. yokekei
    yokekei ·


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