Auto Focus

Auto Focus

The Self-Portrait in Contemporary Photography

  1. Susan Bright
See Inside
  • ISBN 9780500543894
  • 27.50 x 23.00 cm
  • Hardback
  • 224pp
  • 332 Illustrations, 288 in colour
  • First published 2010
‘An intriguing new survey … a feast of elaborate photographic reinvention’ – The Observer


‘Insightful and commanding … an indispensable modern guide to the long-established art of the self-portrait’ – Glass Magazine


‘An inspirational tome’ – Professional Photographer
‘A great compilation of images on a particularly difficult genre of photography
… very engaging text’
– Amateur Photographer

This dazzling array of photographs by seventy-five of the world’s foremost contemporary photographers focuses on self-portraits.

From intimate images of introspection and those that challenge notions of ethnicity and sexuality, to dramatic, stylized photographs of dream-like scenarios, Auto Focus shows how one of the longest-established artistic genres continues to fascinate artists today.

Susan Bright provides a clear guide for readers through this significant and dynamic genre, showing how issues of identity – whether national, sexual, racial, personal or artistic – are key to understanding the work of many of today’s leading photographers.

See the complete list of photographers

The survey is clearly organized into five themess that deal with
• diaristic and autobiographical images
• pictures of the body
• the use of masks and masquerade
• the return to studio portraiture and the photographic album
• performance, public and private

An illustrated introduction to the book points to the history of the photographic self-portrait from the 1840s to the late twentieth century, providing an invaluable context for the recent surge in artists’ images of themselves.

Susan Bright is a curator and writer. She has taught extensively and has convened major international conferences and seminars on many aspects of art and photography. She was formerly Assistant Curator of Photographs at the National Portrait Gallery, Curator at the Association of Photographers and Acting Director for the MA Photography (Historic and Contemporary) at Sotheby’s Institute of Art. Exhibitions and catalogues include Something Out of Nothing (Fotogalleriet, Oslo), How We Are: Photographing Britain (Tate Britain, London) and Face of Fashion (National Portrait Gallery, London).

Also by Susan Bright
Art Photography Now

Also of interest
Face: The New Photographic Portrait
The Photograph as Contemporary Art
reGeneration: Tomorrow's Photographers Today
The Self-Portrait: A Cultural History
Portrait of the Writer: Literary Lives in Focus 250 modern writers
    portrayed by the greats of photography