The Selfie Portraiture Exhibition with Courtney Askey

‘Selfie Portraiture’ was a recent young people led diverse and contemporary exhibition at Soft Touch, using a collective approach to showcase how self-portraits can emphasise individual personality.

Self-image can be considered a major issue in society today, and a group of 10 young people explored their own personalities and interests to create a series of self-portraits. The exhibition showcases visually adaptive and contrasting photographs created using photo manipulation, costume, body art and creative backgrounds.

The young people on our STart Project were offered the opportunity to work with Courtney Askey over a series of weeks to create portraits which reflect their identities in a fun and creative way.


Courtney Askey is currently studying for a fine art degree at De Montfort University and she put forward the idea of collaborating with Soft Touch to create an exhibition with young people based on her own artistic practice. Courtney and the participants worked together over a series of sessions to curate and present the exhibition which took place in mid-February 2017.

Courtney commented:

I learnt more about my own practice whilst teaching others as it allowed me to look into the process of taking self-portraits from an outside perspective.”

Courtney attended our STart project sessions on Thursday afternoons over a 4-week period. She pitched the concept of the exhibition to group members, giving them the opportunity to contribute their ideas using mind maps and through researching inspirational global portrait photographers. In the second week the backdrop was created and props and costumes were introduced which gave individuals the opportunity to create a character they wanted to become. By week four, they had produced a range of photographs and selected their favourite photos ready to finish and manipulate in Photoshop.  This helped to give each image an individual identity. Once the images were completed and framed, the exhibition ran over four days.  The best part was seeing the young people react to the results. They were beyond impressed!


Another aspect of the exhibition was the interactive drop-in ‘Selfie Booth’ workshop.  Visitors to the exhibition could use a range of costumes and props to create their own ‘selfies’ and had lots of fun creating their images.


Visitor comments included “it shows the creative talent of the young people involved. Spot on!”. “An interesting exhibition inspiring me with some creative photography ideas”.  “Lovely exhibition with a conscious expression of the subjects and artists’ personal exploration”.

If you would like to read personal feedback from the participants please click here.

Courtney’s work to date has led to her exhibiting in a number of film and photographic exhibitions. This project has developed her collaborative workshop skills and expanded her experience in leading workshops with young people.

If you would like to read Courtney’s interview please click here. She has provided us with detailed explanation about her experience at Soft Touch.

Drum roll please – you can find the young people’s official images on our Facebook page. Don’t forget to like our page to stay involved and updated. Enjoy!

The participants were very positive with the results and admired Courtney’s artistic platform, making them realise they too have a creative base to land on. Soft Touch Arts help to promote creative alternatives for young people and this exhibition has taught participants an innovative and direct approach to photography.

If you would like to make a donation to Soft Touch Arts so that we can support more young people in challenging situations to progress and thrive please click here.

Get Involved

Find out how you can get involved with us