Daily Self Portraits: 6 Months in Video

You can see every photograph from my daily self portrait project for the first six months in the following two videos.  The photographs are shown in chronological order with each video illustrating three months.

It’s interesting to view them like this – each day ticking past giving way to the next. I get a real sense of the passing of time.

I’ve set the videos to two pieces of music that have made up part of my soundtrack then (and now) and are pieces of music which move me.

Is it art? I’m not sure what anyone else will think but to me it is, along with being a diary, a document of life with CFS/ME, a personal insight into coming to terms with my chronic illness, a sketch of life gone by and with it good and bad. 

Daily Self Portraits: 4 May – 3 August 2007


Daily Self Portraits: 4 August – 3 November 2007


It’s slightly unerving to see so many pictures of myself in succession, even more so to see them in a public domain.  But trying to communicate something to the others is an important part of the process. 

I started this project on 4th May 2007, six months after my formal diagnosis with CFS/ME and eighteen months or so after first feeling there was something wrong with me. 

It’s certainly not a project about vanity.  I have to take a photograph of myself every day including some part of me (face or body) and I have to push the shutter button myself (as in self). 

Every day I take a photo – regardless of how photogenic, creative or human  I feel. I’ve had days when my arms are too weak to hold the camera up in the air, days when I can’t get the picture in focus because I’m shaking, days when my head has been so bad the auto-focus light is like a red hot poker in my eye, days when I can’t find words from my brain, day upon day in my pj’s unkempt and unwashed, days when light, life and love gloriously fill my world.

Cringe though I might at many of the pictures this process has helped (is helping) me to see, to learn, to grow.  Helping me accept life the way it is and the way it must be. Helping to kindle an interest my photography (wanting to do it better). Helping to push myself artistically by addressing the same subject day in day out yet finding new and creative ways to do that. As well as sometimes – just being able to record a moment in a changed life.

I am now over 8 months into the year long project. I’m looking forward to finding out what stories this latter half of the project will tell.

You can see the full set of photographs on Flickr in my self portrait set

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Posted in Art, Artist, CFIDS, CFS, Doodle, Drawing, Health, Life, M.E., Photograph, Photography, SelfPortrait, Video
12 comments on “Daily Self Portraits: 6 Months in Video
  1. […] these short videos out if you have the […]

  2. James says:

    Okay… so small world and all that, but I was just browsing some WordPress blogs and came across your hubbys blog, I click through the link and came to this page. I recognise that name I thought, I’ve been here before.

    Not only that but I love Ray Lamontagne, and I love that Without You song. I nearly put it on my mix tape I made recently, but Till The Sun Turns Black just beat it to it.

    Anyway must get back to Scrabulous!

  3. Oooh freaky! Glad you found me and thanks for leaving a comment.

    I will admit that both the Ray Lamontagne CD’s we have are my hubbies and I spent the first few weeks saying “Oh he’s the one I don’t like” after bobbing my head to the music and asking “Who’s this then?”. I finally had to admit to myself that I like it – no love it.

    What’s the hurry? Just because you’re beating me at Scrabulous James! 😉

  4. Nina says:

    Oh my God, Rachel – that is incredible. Stark, sad, happy, moving, funny, beautiful. What a great project you’ve accomplished. I’m guessing you hadn’t thought of putting them all together like this when you first set out. It’s quite a body of work.

  5. Thank you Nina 🙂 And I still have six more months to do/show!!

    When I first set out I didn’t even think I would manage more than a week!

    When I got to 100 days my brother suggested at the end of the year putting them all together with a piece of music. he said he might try and compose a piece especially but I’m not sure he has the time to do that.

    In the meantime I thought it might be interesting to put them together and once I did I was really .. well, moved by it all.

  6. Merlin says:

    Wow this is incredible – And Thanks so much for sharing this out to the world – I saw the first video you had as a link on Sketching.cc and found your blog –

    Your site has great Sketches – watercolors and Photography – Best of all the worlds wrapped up in a small corner of the web.

  7. Blanca says:

    Wow, I feel sad, yet strangely comforted by your video. Thank you for sharing yourself this way. It takes real courage to put oneself out there.I sincerely hope you are having a good day. If not, smile and know that you are making a difference beyond your little part of the world; your sketch speaks to something I’m wrestling with. Thanks!

  8. Blanca – thank you so much. What a very touching comment.

  9. […] I said when posting the first 6 months in video […]

  10. Jennifer says:

    Hi Rachel,

    Thanks for this — I also have CFS, or I guess ME (some diagnose it this way due to neurological issues), but just seeing your face and how you are feeling makes me feel like I’m looking into a mirror. It’s amazing how other people may think that you look healthy or normal, but those of us with this condition can see that look in the eyes that reflects the inner experience. Hang in there! Btw, it’s so great that your husband is willing to talk about the situation — Mine left due to the stress of it all (which I don’t blame him for), so it is so nice to see that it can work despite the obstacles!


  11. Rowena Magdan says:

    Thanks Rachel. I’m feeling a bit down at the moment as my ME/CFS seems to be having a relapse at the moment after nearly a year of stability. It’s ggod to know there’re others out there who are not only coping (at least publicly) but are SHOWING how we can vary so much.

    I wouldn’t have had the guts to put my face out there, but it’s sure grabbed me. I shall be asking my family to view it as well.

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Rachel Groves, Artist
Lichfield, Staffordshire, UK



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