The Most Inspiring Male Self Portrait Photographers in 2022
Header Image by Mati Gelman
A while ago, I shared my favorite female self portrait photographers – so now it’s only fair to shed light on some of the best male self portrait photographers out there.
However, they’re not quite as easily found (or at least I am not familiar with as many as their female counterparts).
It seems like not as many men venture into the often emotive art of self portraiture – is it because there are still gender stereotypes around expressing vulnerability that reach all the way to how we dare to express ourselves in front of a camera? Is it because in general women are more often to be found as the subject in visual arts?
Nevertheless, there are plenty of inspiring male self portrait photographers out there – their work has moved me deeply and it’s my honor to share it with you here.
10 Inspiring Male Self Portrait Photographers
1. David Uzochukwu
It makes sense to start with the one (and only) male self portrait photographer I’ve been lucky enough to meet – but also because he simply is amazing at what he does. Austrian-Nigerian artist David Uzochukwu started out so early he could be considered somewhat a photography prodigy. From the very beginning, he has always had an incredible aesthetic, his images drenched in the magnificent light one would find right after sunset.
Over the last years, his work has considerably matured and dives right into the fundamental questions that move humanity. David’s powerful portraits explore race and identity or, as he so beautifully puts it on his website, of ‘longing and belonging’. He does so with an incredible emotional depth.
2. David Hanagan
Central to UK-based David Hanagan’s work is the human body. In his self portraits, he creates mindblowing shapes with his nude body, often mimicking and complementing the natural surroundings. His photography is based on moody simplicity, yet is so extravagant in the way it fully explores and expands the range of bodily expression. David Hanagan’s work reminds me of the works of old masters that saw the human body as a work of art in itself – proving that it truly is.
3. Ben Zank
I almost want to say that Ben Zank is the male Brooke DiDonato or the other way round – I’m not sure who came first, but their work is carried by a very similar aesthetic while they’re both incredible in their own way. (Since they’re actually friends and creating together as well, I hope they won’t mind the comparison.)
Ben Zank’s photos are wildly surreal, yet staged in realistic, tidy settings where something a little odd just ‘happens’ to be going on. The way his self portraits seize the immediate environment – and the way he places suits in questionable situations – is nothing short but genius.
4. Alex Stoddard
Another self portrait superstar whose work I’ve admired since the good old Flickr days – US-American photographer Alex Stoddard. His conceptual pieces, often shot in nature, are just mindblowing and the precision with which he executes his edits is astounding. He has mastered self portraiture photography already during his teen years and since then has kept refining his visual language, drawing the viewer into worlds of fantastical realism that make you stop and wonder.
5. Joel Robison
Joel Robison’s images will carry you off into the peaceful lands of fantasy. The Canadian photographer creates conceptual artworks that overflow with playful creativity and simply feel like a happy place. In his carefully edited compositions, anything is possible – whether it is traveling through the air on umbrellas, becoming a miniature person or drinking tea out of flying teapots. Joel’s imagination truly seems neverending and he has been creating story-telling self portraits for more than a decade without losing the special spark in his creations.
The emerging artist who prefers to be only known as ‘d4rk’ creates mystical self portraits and photo compositions mostly consisting of a solitary, faceless figure in a natural landscape. His work often features surreal elements, such as glowing lights emerging out of the dark. Tranquility and stillness, seen from the place of the observer, run through his photos like a golden thread. He has a wonderful talent for creating atmospheric scenes that feel far away from time & space.
7. Marvel Harris
I was hesitating whether to include Marvel Harris here and if it would feel appropriate to him – but since the non-binary transgender artist goes by male pronouns, I hope he will not mind being included in this list of male(-read) photographers. It would be a pity not to share his work because of the limitations of our definitions of gender.
Marvel Harris makes his personal journey visible through self portraits. His moving photographs capture his battles with gender identity, mental health and autism. They feel honest, raw and allow an intimate glance into real feelings and real struggles. Over the course of years, he has documented not only his physical transformation but also the inner processes that go with it and bravely started sharing his story online – a story that many people out there needed to hear.
8. Ronny Garcia
Despite specializing in fairytale-like portraits of women, Ronny Garcia’s work also features self portraits well worth seeing. Self portraiture is, actually, how the Colombian photographer started out. His fantastical photographs are so vibrant and amazingly retouched that they instantly draw you in. Especially his self portraits often stand out by being rather conceptual, leaving many layers of meaning to discover. In 2022, he actually just started a new 52 weeks project – so I think we can look forward to seeing many more of his amazing self portraits.
9. Seanen Middleton
This one is for all fans of the dark and bizarre: UK photographer Seanen Middleton’s self portraits masterfully express the parts of human nature that often remain hidden. His style is characterized not only by literal darkness but beautiful surreal and painterly elements. We all know how many hidden emotions linger in the dark – and Seanen Middleton captures them perfectly.
Some more self portrait inspiration
Here are a couple more male photographers whose work I really love. Even though self portraits are not their main focus, they are wonderful creators and you still might be able to spot an occasional self portrait:
I hope you do! Seeing other people’s work has very much influenced my own journey with self portraiture and I always love discovering new artists.
If I’ve missed any self portrait photographers (no matter of which gender) that you think we would enjoy, please do comment below!