A self-portrait gives you time. Not in a literal sense, obviously, but in a way that prolongs your future and restores your past. There is opportunity in a self-portrait: self-reflection (navel-gazing, if you will,) and contemplation on the minutiae of your life (lives.)
A self-portrait can hide your perceived faults; all those nasty little tics & bumps that make up your character, your personality, can be dressed up (or down) in a self portrait. Troubadour, knight, wasted youth, harsh light, soft glow, a straighter nose; all at your fingertips artists, photographers, writers.
A self-portrait throws light on shadow–little creatures scurrying about to find shelter when confronted with such self-examination. Your anger at your life, the mistakes & mishaps that litter the road behind you (Napoleon in retreat from Russia) and they’re there, you can’t deny them spotlit as they are by your examination.
A self-portrait gifts you in many ways. Self-improvement (technique enhancers, artistic viagra if you will,) d.i.y. hgtv for your medium. All those clichés (hone your skills, for instance) come to mind instantly, but dissipate as you delve further into your chosen subject: you.
A self-portrait can be an homage to some other artist you admire, adopting their technique, their stroke, their manipulation of the investigation you’ve begun, a journalistic legerdemain, exposing or cloaking your virtuousity.
A self-portrait, a genre without beginning or end, timeless, a graph of the accomplishments of artists (and of man.) It only requires your acquiescence & submission, baring yourself for examination, ridicule, criticism, applause & admiration (all possibilities true.)
What does it say about you?