The seemingly perpetual, internal struggle: Artist or subject?
Frida Kahlo elegantly managed the most tragic of life events by being both the artist and the subject. She used vivd paints and virgin canvases to express her deepest emotions and introspections -- her tumultuous relationship with Diego Rivera, her unfortunate miscarriage and an accident with a metal pole that warranted several operations on her spine. Kahlo is quoted as saying, "I paint my own reality." So it goes with every artist. We crave watching eyes. We crave expression. I express myself in pictures the best way I know how: through introspective and self-observation. I am both the artist and the subject. Thus, I can intelligibly grasp the world, myself in the context of the world and the people in it. Once you can honestly photograph yourself, you can honestly photograph another. Self-portraits, through any medium, help an artist gain a real understanding of human emotion, i.e. vulnerability, self-consciousness, discomfort, fear.
The first two photographs
Composition: I am the extrovert posing and angling my face in the most flattering way. I am documenting myself, my limbs, my camera. I am the introvert. I am quietly observing with a slight sense of coyness in my expression. I cover the flash with my hand, indicating that I do not want to be photographed yet I continue to snap and pose. The right hand (introvert) blocks the flash. The left hand (extrovert) pushes the button and opens the shutter. Light hits my face on the left side (extrovert) while the right side of my face is covered by a shadow (introvert). I am unsure and feel the need to make a decision: Am I the model or am I the photographer?
Modes: The identical shots are shown in color and in black and white to further the dichotomy of artist and subject. Yes, there is a "struggle" conveyed through the composition, but the color photo then the black and white emphasizes the subject's, my, need to chose between the two roles.