“All my images are self-portraits, even when I’m not in them.”
― Nuno Roque

I’ve always been fascinated with self portraits but in fine art until I found some images by different creatives in digital form. After following along Maira’s work I managed to catch up with here and here’s what she has to say;

Hi! Ever wondered how people get into self portraiture? This is a look into how I, as a 23 year old dental surgery student, got into it and what I’m about as a self-portraiture enthusiast.

What is self portraiture?

I would define it as a form of art where one is free to express themselves however they like in the form of a picture.

How did i get into self portraiture?

It all happened by chance…or is it by fate? *shrugs*  It started with a photograph I took of my hand reaching out into the light from the empty darkness. For me, that picture signified a sliver of hope in the dark situation that I was in.

From darkness into light

Thus started my love affair with the art. From then on, self-portraits became a sort of safe space, a world where I could explore sides of me that I normally didn’t show out there in the ‘real world’.

What is my inspiration?

My inspiration comes from almost anything really. It can be from a line I heard in a song that touched me in a certain way.

Inspiration from Take Care – Drake ft Rihanna

It can be from a particular mood or emotion I’m feeling. Be it missing someone, or craving a little affection or even finally gaining confidence in yourself and your body.

Mood: Missing a significant other


Mood: Craving some affection

Mood: What’s wrong with being confident?

I also get inspiration from other photographers. I normally see amazing shots on Instagram that make me want to try something outside the box.

Through the looking glass.

Inspiration comes from everyday experiences and events, from African leaders and even friends. There is literally no limit to the things that influence my ideas.

Thought process.

Now, I can’t say I have an actual thought process. Every idea is different, from its conception to its completion. But what I can say is that I definitely have to sit down and think of the ways I can take a photo without compromising my own beliefs. For example, I am not comfortable with nudity, so I find ways around that. I also try to make sure that the photograph is an extension of what I am feeling at that moment.

The eyes are the window to one’s soul.

Shooting process

It is amazing what you can do with good natural light, a small space and a camera phone. Until recently, I had been using phone cameras to take all my self-portraits. I found it more convenient. I am however exploring taking self-portraits with a DSLR now and its working out pretty great.  So far I’ve been using natural light only, I take advantage of rooms with large windows. It does, however, limit the time I can actually take the self-portraits. As for space, I don’t have an actual studio (fake it till you make it, ha-ha!) I use the spaces and rooms available to me. Add a few props depending on the theme and I’m good to go.

Good lighting is everything

What do I get out of it?

All in all, I would say self-portraiture has helped me discover things I didn’t know I was capable of, it has opened me up to feel more and experience more, it has taught me a lot about photography and last but certainly not least, it has led to new friendships.


Parting short

Self-portraiture isn’t just about serious faces and deep thoughts. Have some fun while you’re at it. Smile! Happiness is an emotion too.


Let me know where you draw your inspiration for your self portraits (if any). You can see more of Maira’s work on Instagram, VSCO , Facebook  & Twitter.