Impossible Self-Portraits
by Rick Doble
These digital photographs were taken with a
Sony FD73 and Sony CD100 and a Casio QV-770 digital camera

thumbnail cover, Experimental Digital Photography book by Rick DobleNEW BOOK!
Experimental Digital Photography by Rick Doble
A complete illustrated how-to guide (Sterling Publishing)

See Rick Doble's two other books by major publishers on digital photography
Career Building Through Digital Photography for high school students
Everything Digital Photography a general introduction

Before digital cameras portraits like these were virtually impossible.
Read my notes about creating these photographs.

Please click on a thumbnail to see an enlarged image.
Big animations may take a few minutes to load.

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Animated self-portraits.

Some of these were on display at the
Enculturation Film/Image Site
- a site for modern film theory.
Rick Doble, Featured Artist:

Read a review of my animated work at the Enculturation Film/Image site.

hand walking

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living (room)

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neon portrait

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neon cycles

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video games

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Contact sheets or
a sequence of similar pictures
on one page.


(Technical and otherwise.)


Painters have been creating self-portraits for years. Some of the most famous paintings ever created were self-portraits such as those of Rembrandt and Van Gogh. However, photography (until now) has been unable to accomplish this. The photographer had to be behind the lens to preview the photographic image. In short he or she could not be behind the lens and in front of the lens at the same time.

With the Casio QV-100 camera, that I use, the lens can be rotated in just about any direction (270 degrees). With some digital cameras the lens can be taken off the camera.

These pictures were NOT manipulated in graphics program. I used the quirks of the light sensitive material (and also the way that digital imagery is stored) to achieve most of the unusual effects. All of the still enhancements where achieved in the basic "darkroom" processing program QV-AutoCam with simple commands.

These 26 photos were selected from over 400 that I shot.

Personal Notes

I like to explore extremes of light and exposure. I have found that many photographic processes do something odd at these extremes which are often unusual effects. When my digital camera is underexposed, for example, the texture becomes very grainy and the colors take on extremes of blue, purple and yellow.

Each photographic process also responds to various types of light differently. For example, a digital camera will see neon light differently from traditional film.

In all cases I am limited by the length of my arms. This determines the furthest distance I can move the camera away from my body and also the furthest that I can accurately frame and judge the picture in the view finder.

And BTW I am not an ego-maniac. I am just the most willing model who will do what he is told, will work for nothing and who is always available even at 4 in the morning. And I never have to worry about whether I can find me.

Review of Animated Images by David Martin-Jones
-- images seen at the Enculturation Film/Image Site --

As an interesting additional piece, the 'Featured Artist' page contains 'Animations' by Rick Doble. A selection of several of his 'small animations', some of which can take a little while to download, but which are well worth the wait. _Enculturation_ is definitely taking advantage of an aspect of the electronic medium that a print journal really cannot compete with.

Doble creates 'photographic animations', a series of photographs, taken at intervals to accommodate the movement within time of the object. These are then placed in a loop, or repeated, but with asynchronous intervals between each shot. The randomness inscribed aims, Doble argues, towards the same goals as those of the futurists, or the cubists: the visualising of the whole of an object in both space and time. It is the perfect example of the way in which technological innovations change the way art is created, and, in this e-journal format, the way in which it can be disseminated and received. A particular favourite was the somewhat vertiginous 'ceiling'. The shadow of the smoke alarm perhaps tracing a visual analogy for time passing, the shadow of a sundial? Whilst 'driving', due to Doble's inclusion of himself within the shot, with its changing backgrounds coexisting with the (illusionary) unchanging position of the artist, is as good an example of Deleuze's theory in _Cinema 2_ as you are likely to find. In essence, Doble's art is akin to having your own 'flick-book' included in your print journal

My notes about my animations
from the Enculturation Film/Image Site

My small animations are NOT "mini-movies" but an art form that is quite different. Because they loop and repeat, because the timing is often different from frame to frame, and because pictures may have been taken at different intervals (not regular short intervals like film or video), they are more like music or a pulsing living being. (Animate means "having life" according to the dictionary.) Unlike still photography which deals in two dimensions (x and y axis), these photographic animations deal in four dimensions (x, y, z axis plus time). Little animations may achieve what the cubist and futurist painters at the beginning of the century were trying to achieve, that is the ability to see the whole object in space and time in one work of art. Four dimensions is not just a concept but a reality of physics. For example Einstein adapted the age-old Pythagorean formula for the hypotenuse of a triangle to accommodate time as another component.

Go to my
Digital Visuals

site to see a full listing of my visual work
on the Internet.

If you would like to use any of these images,
send me an e-mail message at: Send Me A Message
for permission. I am very open to working with students,
web sites, zines, ezines, schools and other groups,
so please be sure to ask.

© Copyright 1999 by Richard deGaris Doble
All rights reserved.
Send me an e-mail message.