Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style is a spontaneous portrait project that photographer Nina Katchadourian started while traveling by plane in 2010. Here’s her account:
While in the lavatory on a domestic flight in March 2010, I spontaneously put a tissue paper toilet cover seat cover over my head and took a picture in the mirror. The image evoked 15th-century Flemish portraiture. I decided to add more images made in this mode and planned to take advantage of a long-haul flight from San Francisco to Auckland, guessing that there were likely to be long periods of time when no one was using the lavatory on the 14-hour flight. I made several forays to the bathroom from my aisle seat, and by the time we landed I had a large group of new photographs entitled Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style. I was wearing a thin black scarf that I sometimes hung up on the wall behind me to create the deep black ground that is typical of these portraits. There is no special illumination in use other than the lavatory’s own lights and all the images are shot hand-held with the camera phone.
Some people just have to flex their photographic muscles regardless of where they are…
The next time you find yourself on a long-haul flight with nothing to do, see if you can top Katchadourian’s self portraits using only the materials found in the lavatory.
Image credits: Photographs by Nina Katchadourian and used with permission