This picture is yet another proof that in photography often the simplest solutions work the best. Before I comment on it let me say that after having a brief look at the rest of Sharpnel-14's portfolio I'm very much impressed with his style, very intuitive and at the same time formally very sound. I see it as a very masculine kind of photography, with wide tonality, strong lines and bold compositions and, last but not least, a knack for square frames which I personally also like a lot. There is structure in this gallery, and a very visible search for strong form.
All these features are also present in this particular self portrait, but also something far more important: atmosphere. You could say it has to do with soft lighting, shallow contrast or relatively narrow depth of focus - true. But to me it's all in the character and emotion. It's in the tremendous eye contact and in the perfect timing of this exposure. I admire the fact that the author further emphasised this effect by removing what's irrelevant - most importantly the colours, but also the clothes. The crop is just right, although the balance in lights and shadows could be slightly improved (I'll come back to this). All in all, this is a firm, strong picture you can hardly get your eyes away from.
One comment for the author: I think you sit on a verge here, between pure "portrait" genre and a "beauty" shot. You caught an entire spectrum of emotions and feelings - curiosity, fragility, but also determination. On the other hand, the technique you use shows your interest for plasticity and depth of human body. You have a good skill, yet there is nothing that can't be improved. A few small remarks: - your highlights have been washed out. Apparently you tried to recover it in post production but there is still a lot of detail missing and it looks a bit artificial, especially with this shallow contrast. This can still be corrected, to some extent, in photoshop. Please contact me if you want to know more details on how to do it. A tip for the future - if you stage a self portrait, you can still use a BIT of makeup, at least some foundation - your dominant eye is sharp, but not quite sharp enough. your sharpness has been set for the right eyebrow rather than the center of the eye. Yes, I know, it's virtually impossible to get right sharpness when self-shooting from a tripod, but the answer to this is: take a couple hundred of pictures and select the sharpest. - the picture lacks real whites as well as true, deep blacks, which is also the effect of postproduction, or your camera being at it's limits, or BW conversion. It's not a big disadvantage though, this effect fits the mood very well.
Despite these few technical details I do believe this portrait is photography at it's best. My complimets, regards, Tom.
This is a fantastic shot, the pose doesn't seem forced at all, it looks so natural. I think it was a good decision to do it in black and white too because it emphasises the intensity of the piece, while keeping things simple.