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"100 Me's". Sophia Lee Bartolini, 11

A Stone Soup selfie contest winner, Spring 2017

A note from William Rubel

Selfie Contest #2!

Last spring we had a very successful selfie contest. Now it's fall, we thought it was time to bring it back. Our second Selfie Contest has the deadline of Monday, November 6. The top five winners will receive a prize of a $10 Amazon gift certificate, and will be published in a future issue of Stone Soup.

As all of you know, a "selfie" is self-portrait. It is you telling a story about yourself through a photograph. There is a long tradition of artists making portraits of themselves in drawing, in photography, and in painting--the wonderful self-portrait below, painted by Goya in around 1785, could be seen as an early version of a full-body selfie. The mirrors Goya needed to pull off his self-portrait are out of sight, while one of the winners of our spring contest, pictured above, used mirrors as an integral part of her composition, but both of them show us the medium they used to make the work: Goya his paints and easel, and Sophia Lee Bartolini her camera phone and bathroom cabinet mirrors. The ability to take a photograph of yourself while holding a camera that at the same time enables you to see what you are doing is entirely new. You are the pioneers. In one or two hundred years people looking back at photography from this period and will see these kinds of selfies as an exciting new art form.

There is room for serious portraits in this contest and we definitely want to see a few photographs in which you compose yourself and look into the camera. But there is plenty of room to be playful too, if that's who you are. There is a long tradition of artists dressing up in costume before making their self-portraits, and costumes are a great way to say something about yourself. Make a portrait of yourself doing something you love, or are good at; your costume could be a uniform or an outfit for a special activity (like Goya's hat with candles that helped him see what he was doing as the light of the day dimmed). You can also be dramatic. Photograph yourself in profile. Get motion into your picture. Surprise yourself--and surprise us. As with every artistic endeavor I think you will find that taking risks will pay off!

You are permitted to up load up to three images. You can make them each completely different from each other or you can send in three images that are linked in some way. Send in your entries here. Please submit in the Artwork category, and include 'Selfie Contest, Fall 2017' in your title.

Francisco Goya, Self-Portrait Before the Easel (Autorretrato ante el caballete), circa 1785. Oil on canvas, in the collection of Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid, Spain.

Forthcoming issues

If you haven't worked on your food stories and recipe submissions for the December Food Issue, please try to spend some time on them this weekend. As I've mentioned in previous Saturday Newsletters, a big part of a recipe submission is the headnote--the narrative you write to introduce the recipe. In addition to recipes, we are looking for photographs, drawings, paintings, stories, and poems all about food. If there is a cookbook, food show, food movie or painting you like, then please review it and upload it in the submissions review category.

We are beginning to get used to publishing monthly. It is so exciting! It feels as though we have only just published the September issue, and it's already almost time to launch October. In fact, this week we are proof-reading the PDF of the October issue ready to publish on the 1st of the month, and we have just finalized the writing and art that's included in the November issue. December is almost complete, giving us everything we need to produce our first print Annual. We hope you are having as much fun this new school year as we are developing your new monthly Stone Soup, and can't wait to share what you create!

Until next week,


From Stone Soup
September/October 2000

The Real Mr Vankos

By Laura Aberle, 12

Illustrated by Jane Westrick, 12

When Mr. Vankos painted a giant portrait of himself on the side of his house, I heard many mentions of him being totally out of his mind. Everyone in my neighborhood had a house of solid color with shutters of the opposite shade. It seemed to anger them that someone would paint their house more than two colors, like it was a sacred tradition to be dead boring. With so many people against him, I had no reason to disagree with the statement.

My natural curiosity got the better of me, though, as usual. For as long as I could remember I had been expected to find things to do, to play by myself if I must. My parents were always working and I was left alone with Anita, who had her hands full with all the housework, and my three younger brothers. When my friends weren’t available, or when no one could drive me somewhere, I would just wander around and try to catch pieces of conversations between the neighbors or see who was putting a new addition on their house next. So I have always been extremely curious—even nosy—and I was no less than captivated by the strange man with the colorful house.

“Who would do such an absurd thing?” my nanny Anita muttered early one morning as she was ironing my shirt. “That lunatic was slaving over some portrait for weeks, knowing the only thing he’ll get from it is the whole block thinking he’s nuts. Well, I tell you,” she continued with a littie smirk, “he succeeded in doing that.” She pressed the last crease out of the shirt and handed it over to me, sighing. “That house was so nice before he moved in,” she breathed, putting her hands on her wide hips. “He must have been a very deprived child, wanting all this negative attention. Why doesn’t he move back to the city where they’re used to all this weirdness?” .../more

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