#picbod self-portrait by Nigel Rumsey

I entered my, very unflattering portrait (I feel I need to say that so as you don't think I'm quite as unattractive as I've made myself appear), shot for my #picbod submission into thePrintSpace self-portrait competition. Sadly I didn't win, however I did get shortlisted and one of the judges, Ben Evans said  'Personally felt self-portrait and well executed. This was my favourite.'. What this has reminded me, and I shouldn't be surprised, is that getting off your backside and making the effort to get out and shoot, or taking part in a workshop, can open up new opportunities. OK so I was only shortlisted on this occasion, but it put my photography in front of people who hadn't seen it before and next time you never know!

#picbod by Nigel Rumsey

#picbod self-portrait I'm participating in #pidbod 2013.

"Picbod - [pic-bod] is a free and open undergraduate photography class run by Jonathan Worth from the photography team at Coventry University in the UK."

The class comprises a group of Coventry University undergraduates and a larger group of 'photographers' who participate online from locations all around the world. We number a nice round 150 in all, of whom about 15-20 are actual proper undergraduates - I'm guessing here because as is the nature of the thing I've not met them and probably never will.

The first week's task was "Pre-visualize and produce a self portrait [using only available light*] unrestricted in theme and technique yet still supplying a message to the viewer. You should spend time first understanding what it is you wish to convey before then looking at the composition and mechanics of the image and finally production.

* While you are required to use only available light you can still shape and adjust this light as you see fit. Street lights, laptops, computers and televisions can all be employed"

This is far from the most flattering portrait I've taken or had taken. However I'm pleased to say one small benefit of getting older is I'm slightly less concerned about others see me. It's interesting to hear how much some of my fellow, younger, classmates struggled over the way they portrayed themselves. And there's nothing wrong with that, we all need to feel comfortable with the image we show to world. Which seemed to be the crux of the exercise - would I take the same photograph if I weren't the subject?

I'm not particularly happy with my submission. It's fine in as much as it's a passable portrait, but I don't feel as though I pushed the boundaries of my imagination. Having said it's the first time I've exercised my photographic creativity in such a formal way and there's a long way to go another nine weeks in fact. I'd be interested to hear what you think?