Lizzy Gadd on Adding an Ethereal and Artful Twist to Self-Portraits

Get inspired to break away from throwaway self-portraits with the work of Lizzy Gadd, who combines self-portraits and landscape photography with an ethereal twist.

Social media often gets us inundated with senseless selfies, giving the self-portrait a bad rap. But the work of photographer, artist, and writer Lizzy Gadd opens our eyes to the creative and artful possibilities of this type of photography. In a short film by SmugMug, she talks about how drawing ideas and inspiration from the energy of her emotions led her to develop her own stunning self-portrait style.

In the video below, we see how every self-portrait that Lizzy creates is a testament to all the hard work and passion that she puts into her work. By putting together landscape photography and self-portraiture, she lets the human element add drama to each scene and effectively elevate the conventional travel selfie.

In a nutshell, Lizzy describes what she does as “I hike out into nature, set up my camera, and I take selfies. but with an artistic spin, an ethereal twist.” With her scouted locations easily photogenic on their own, it’s easy to just point the lens to the scene and make it just about landscape photography. But for her, each location is more than just a pretty scene or an Instagrammable spot. They’re playgrounds — both intimate spots and sweeping vistas — where photographers can lose themselves in the beauty of nature as they let their imagination and ideas run free.

“It’s places like this that draw me in and where I can lose myself to my imagination while wandering through these wild, raw, wondrous landscapes,” she said of locations like the Isle of Man and spots around Scotland where the short film was shot. “As much as I love the purity of landscape photos, my imagination really starts to soar when I add that human element.”

Indeed, it feels like Lizzy tells a story of herself as different fairy tale characters in each photo. But in the video, she also bares her own personal story and journey as an artist. It all began 10 years ago with a year-long self-portrait project, towards the end of which she started using nature as a backdrop. As she ventured further and further into the mountains for these shoots, she also realized that it wasn’t a one-off project, but something she should continue doing.

“I certainly find a sense of freedom in the solitude of self-portraiture. I’m most often alone when shooting these photos and I find it to be a therapeutic sort of experience, where I can channel my emotions and my mood into my work.”

Don’t forget to check out Lizzy Gadd’s website to see more of her work.


Screenshot image from the video