Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Self Portrait every day for 12 years

 By the time you read this, Jeff Harris will have taken considerably more than 4748 self-portraits. For New Year 1999, rather than resolve, to write a diary for the year, Jeff set himself the task of taking a self-portrait every day. The result is an incredible record of his life through the ups and some very significant downs, not just for a year,but for the last 12 years.In his own words, at first his shots were somewhat boring and repetitive, but using photography as a tool, he found increasingly interesting and creative ways to portray his life. The initial focus on the project was to attempt to show his life as not being a mundane 9-5 existence but to show him enjoying life to the full. As well as getting friends and family to take a shot, one of the more unique aspects to his visual diary is getting celebrities to take his picture. His creativity particularly shines through in some of these pictures, as he tries to convey the character of the celebrity through the portraits they have taken of him. In one particularly interesting series of shots, he poses as if to avoid being photographed. The photographer is Michael Moore, the renowned documentary filmmaker.

The fluidity of the story is another theme running through Jeff’s pictures. In one shot, he can be seen leaping high in the air on a rock band’s stage. In the next shot we see him the emergency room being treated for a fractured foot sustained during the leap. Further daily images show Jeff’s daily routine barely changing despite being on crutches.


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