The Performative Self Portrait: Developing Your Contemporary Identity
© Zuzana Pustaiová

The Performative Self Portrait: Developing Your Contemporary Identity

Dates: Mondays, May 6–Jun 24, 2024
Time: 12–2pm (ET)
Sessions: 6 (No class on May 20 and May 27 — class meets May 6, 13; June 3, 10, 17, 24)
Limited enrollment: 8 students
Fee: $405
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Who are you in contemporary society? Join Zuzana Pustaiová for this intriguing journey of discovery and expression through the performative self portrait. In this class, you’ll learn to use self-portrayal as a powerful language to address a variety of ideas and topics, as well helping you examine your self-identity in the contemporary world. Experiment with different performative approaches including using tools from documentary photography, creating a staged environment, building simple props, or playing with stop motion and video stills. You’ll be introduced to the work of contemporary photographers who use self-portraiture in their artistic practice and we’ll analyze and discuss readings of dramaturgical sociology by Erving Goffman, author of the The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Through assignments and discussion, you’ll develop a new angle on self portraiture, whether you’ve worked in this form before or not. The aim is that by the end of this class, you’ll understand how to work with yourself in your artistic practice as never before. 

Zuzana’s class was one of the best content classes I’ve taken. It showed me a new approach to self portraits (which I’ve enjoyed making for a long time). Her critiques helped to validate my thoughts to move beyond including myself in all of my “self portrait” photos.
—Don (Ohio)
Zuzana is an experienced and inspiring teacher who motivated us a lot to find our true artistic voice by connecting with something essential and at the same time showing us many opportunities to be creative. I can’t believe that I could approach a very difficult personal topic and transform it with photography.
—Ha Thu (Vietnam)

Zuzana Pustaiová
photo by Boris Nemeth
Zuzana Pustaiová

Zuzana Pustaiová's interest in visual arts began with painting but soon switched to photography, which she studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bratislava (Slovakia) where she completed her Ph.D in 2022. Her artwork uses role-playing as a principal tool to explore and reveal the relationships between family members, relatives, friends, and other social groups. With a sense of wit, humor and irony, she uncovers the cultural stereotypes related to gender, age, tradition, and social inclusion. In 2022, her book One Day Every Day was shortlisted for the Paris Photo – Aperture Photobook Award. She has received numerous awards in contemporary photography — including the Grand Prix at the Rovinj Photodays 2021 and Finalist for the 2017 Lucie Foundation Scholarship in Los Angeles. In 2018 she was named Slovak Photographer of the Year. She has exhibited internationally in Europe and Canada and lives and works in Levice and Bratislava.

Zuzana teaches new approaches to photographing family stories and self-portraiture   for StrudelmediaLive.