Recently graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design, Natalie Kelton has a keen interested in photographing the body. However, it is not just in one light, Kelton has multiple tricks up her sleeve when it comes to showing a story of a person through an image. Switching between the intimate settings of their home or shooting in the studio, Kelton is able to adapt at the drop of a hat. Even so, the subject matter of A Self Portrait is more than what meets the eye. The black-and-white images of women shown in this book are more than just parts, Kelton sees herself in every image. Kelton uses this book to go a step further from untraditional self-portraiture and use other models to reflect herself in her work.
The nude portraits of the women in the book are truly secure with showing off what they have for Kelton to photograph. Scattered throughout the book are stretch marks, body hair, and bruises, but what some may see as flaws, more see as what makes the women unique and alluring. That could be the reason why Kelton picked these particular women to represent her for a self-portrait. The images in the book never show the face, which is not needed considering the photographs are there to represent Kelton and there is no reason to label the bodies of the women to their owners. However, what if these images have their faces accompanying them? Would it change the idea of what constitutes a self-portrait or broaden the definition from what Kelton has created for herself in A Self Portrait?
When self-portraits are thought of, first thought that comes to mind is the actual photographer face and body. Second would be objects that are theirs that make the photographer who they are, everyday items that shape them for the point they are getting across. Third, a landscape can possibly be seen of an area that has significant connotation. Usually what is not seen is a whole book of others that is labeled as self-portraits. However, this is how Kelton sees herself. Kelton is very welcoming to the women in the book and shows a new way to photograph the self; through those that the photographer believes can portray the idea best for what is needed to be said.
Kelton’s A Self Portrait takes on a whole new meaning of self-portraiture. It strips it down to the bare minimum of the definition and bends the rules as much as possible to create a beautiful book of confidence within normalcy. Kelton brings the viewer close to the body without making the images too abstract, making it easier for the viewer to see these women for how striking they are. Kelton’s portraits and her self-portraits are a sight to see for any portrait-loving viewer. A Self Portrait may break the rules, but it creates a story of photographs not to be forgotten.
If you are interested in purchasing A Self Portrait, you can purchase it on the Blurb website.
Multiple versions of the book are available.
Written by Madison Rich
Images Taken by Madison Rich