Tamara Abdul Hadi Stages Self-Portraits in Palestine

Dubai photographer, Tamara Abdul Hadi, lets Palestinians capture their own images. She sets up a camera with an extended shutter cable and lets the subjects photograph themselves. In this fashion, the photo subjects display greater apprehension to take a more formal photo versus that of the common smartphone selfie.


The self portrait is usually an artistic expression reserved for the visual artist-photographer. But smartphones have redefined the self portrait into a universal ongoing experience of self-historization — perpetually observing, recording, and broadcasting ourselves electronically. However, when the safety of the mobile phone screen is removed, and a professional camera is in front of us, and we hold the shutter mechanism in our own hands, we realize that there are uncontrollable variables to be considered: What does my hair look like? What is the look on my face? What is in the background? Which of my friends are photo-bombing me?

The resulting images reveal a greater sensitivity and vulnerability as each person takes his or her own photos and makes the decision of when to press the shutter. By replacing the selfie experience with a portraiture experience, the photos becomes less about improvisation and more about consideration of who we are and how we want to be portrayed.

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