Feb 11, 2008

Self-Portrait (with Head)

Self-Portrait (with Head)


John Coplans

(British, 1920–2003)

Gelatin silver print

Image: 133.7 x 100.5 cm (52 5/8 x 39 9/16 in.)

Gift of Norman S. and Carolyn K. Carr 1991.321

Impression: 3



In 1979, while serving as director of the Akron Art Museum, John Coplans worked after hours on photographs of his own feet, hands, and face. This preoccupation led him to make portraits of his own nude body. He made these images in his studio, posing himself under lights against a blank white wall, while observing the positions of his body on a video monitor. When he found what he wanted, a studio assistant made an exposure on Polaroid negative film. The process continued in the darkroom, where Coplans refined the image by cropping and then printing it in large scale. In this self-portrait, he joined his aging, sagging body with that of a youthful female, creating a humorous composite figure.

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