Works in Progress: Self-Portraits, Transparent

While I was in Udiapur the first time, I was here for an artist residency. I made posts about that experience and shows how the work progressed while I was there. Now that I am back I am working on several projects. I thought I would be nice to share those projects as they progress and get your feedback on the work.


First photograph which lead to the project Transparent


When I arrived back in Udaipur, I knew I wanted to experiment with making work in new ways. As the days passed I also came to realize the difficulty of the transition I was going through. Not only was I having to adjust to Udaipur in a new way, my identity was being reshaped in small and large ways. Since I was coming to a town I had already spent time in and have friends in, I thought it would be much easier. Furthermore, when moving forward we always want to think as if the ‘grass is greener on the other side’. It’s not. In some ways life is more difficult here, not because it is India, but because of my personal situation.

One day I made a photograph in my room. I put myself in the photograph as a ghosted image (the photograph above). As the project continued to evolve I changed the lighting and decided to wear the same dress in every photograph. Several photographs I had to re-shoot a few times because the light was not right. I also took photographs whose composition or general feeling I did not like.


While I was making these photographs I was also keeping a journal of all my feelings related to the experience. The journal entries are full of pain, basically no silver lining. However, I decided I should not try to force my feeling to be something they were not. I just continued to roll with the experience but deciding I was in it for the long haul. I am not ready to share any of my journal entries as they are deeply personal and make references to personal transitions in my life. I am not sure it is even necessary to share them. It could make the project too personal. This might lead to a disconnect for viewers. So, it is something for continued consideration.


If you have read other blog posts, you may realize I read a lot. With this project I wanted it to be expressed with a single word that had multiple meanings through which the images could be translated. It might seem an obvious word, the project is called Transparent.

The definitions of Transparent are:

1. having the property of transmitting rays of light through its substance so that bodies situated beyond or behind can be distinctly seen.
2. admitting the passage of light through interstices.
3. so sheer as to permit light to pass through; diaphanous.

4. easily seen through, recognized, or detected: transparent excuses.

5. manifest; obvious: a story with a transparent plot.

6. open; frank; candid: the man’s transparent earnestness.

7. Computers. (of a process or software) operating in such a way as to not be perceived by users.
8.Obsolete. shining through, as light.
I may use this as the solo artist statement. But that is also something to continue considering.
This project is just about wrapped up as I think I have enough photographs for the project and because my feelings are changing. However, I have done test shots for projects to come which also deal with my time of transition and the emotions involved. The final photograph of the series, in terms of being displayed is not shown here. You will have to go see it on my website Betsy Williamson.

Please feel free to leave a critique. Also, can someone let me know if the photographs look dark on your screen. On my computer they do not look dark when I have them open in Photoshop, but now that they are uploaded they look darker. Thanks!

By |2016-11-10T19:54:35-06:00August 5th, 2016|self-portraits|8 Comments

About the Author:

Betsy Williamson is an assistant professor of art in the state of New Mexico. Before coming to New Mexico for this job she was an adjunct professor throughout Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, teaching photography and art appreciation. Between September 2015 and May 2017, she took a break from teaching to pursue art, research and life in India. Now she is back to teaching and part-timing it in India.


  1. Arthur August 5, 2016 at 7:52 am - Reply

    Glad to see that you are continuing to express yourself through your artmaking. The images are not that dark on my iphone. They do seem to be moody and frustrating for you.

    • Betsy August 5, 2016 at 8:01 am - Reply

      Thanks for the feedback! Moody and frustrating, those are good words. The transition thing has been much more difficult than I could have imagined.

  2. Ed Lehming Photography August 5, 2016 at 8:42 am - Reply

    Well done. The transparency is just enough to allow the eye to drift back and forth between your outline and the background. I like the effect, as it causes me to consider the entire image as a whole.

    • Betsy August 5, 2016 at 10:43 pm - Reply

      Thanks! Great feedback!

  3. Ashley Whitt August 5, 2016 at 10:30 am - Reply

    There’s a beautiful tension between the darkness of the imagery, and the transparency of your figure. Delicate and foreboding all at once. I don’t think the images need to be brighter on screen. Love this new direction Betsy!! You are such an inspiration to me.

  4. Dick Lane August 6, 2016 at 9:04 am - Reply

    Nice work! I’m always a sucker for self portraits and these are saying a lot to me. I could potentially see a little more editing to enhance that moody frustration? Darkening the corners? Anyway….I know its early on and these are a really nice start!

    • Betsy August 6, 2016 at 9:16 am - Reply

      Thanks! I will have to trying darkening the corners and see what happens.

  5. […] by photographing myself in the house where I am staying. You can see these photographs in the post Self Portraits: Transparent. This project got me comfortable in front of the camera. The process also got me using the camera […]

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