52 Self Portraits

Growth doesn’t come from shocking yourself or forcing yourself to do something really hard. It comes from slow, purposeful, careful steps. It comes from safety and a gradual nudging of the edges of your comfort zone.

What is 52 Self Portraits?

52 Self Portraits is an immersive year-long visual project to help you forge a connected relationship with self, to build courage, and spark your creative joy.

The project is a perfect intersection between creative expression and personal growth. 

It’s also an opportunity:

  • to venture outside your comfort zone in a safe space
  • to take a leap, knowing you have a soft landing place
  • for meaningful self-care
  • for constructive reflection and introspection
  • for connection with incredible like-minded creatives who could become friends for life
  • to grow your skills and passions in any visual medium
  • to transform your life into whatever you want it to be.

How does it work?

52 Self Portraits is facilitated via private groups on Facebook under the guidance and support of Katie K.

In order to create safety, each intake will have no more than 30 members that start and finish the project together. 

Membership is for women only (including trans and non-binary). 

There will also be a central HQ group for all members for scheduled live events, general information, technical and membership support, and connecting with other members regardless of intake.

How do I do it?

Each week for 52 weeks you will create a self portrait and share it with your group. You can create your self portraits however you like and in whatever format, as long as it’s visual and can be shared digitally. It doesn’t matter what tools or medium you use. It can be as simple as your iPhone or a pen and notebook.  

The time you commit to the project is up to you, but we recommend a minimum of an hour a week for your self portrait creation, and then some additional time to be an active participant in your group and attend the monthly events.

There is an orientation period prior to starting and a reflective period at the end.

The project requires patience and commitment to the process, and is an incredible gift to yourself.

Fiona Carson
Gemma Higgins
Sarah Rogers

Join 52 Self Portraits

We are currently planning for a new intake to start later this year. 
Please join the waitlist to be notified.

Why self portraits?

The most important relationship we will ever have is with our selves. Yet so many of us put ourselves last, tending to everyone and everything else in our lives before we tend to ourselves.

Self portraits acknowledge you. They acknowledge that you exist, that you matter and that everything you go through is important.

Self portraits are stories about who we are. They build connections with others, they cause us to pause and reflect. They make us feel things.

There are also many magical things that can happen through paying attention to yourself over a long period of time. Through this commitment, there can be a shift in self-confidence, in your goals and dreams and in your priorities. There can also be a huge growth in your personal courage across different aspects of your life. Through this project, you can create a body of work, or grow a new creative skill you’re passionate about that can change the course of your life.

Our society is pretty obsessed with the things we do, the things that exist on the outside of who we are. But so much of being human happens on the inside. This project gives you permission to explore that, to feed it, to learn more about it and to honour it.

The moments that make up your life are precious. You deserve this.

What is a self portrait?

A self portrait is a representation of the ‘artist’ by the ‘artist’.

It can be a traditional portrait. It can be abstract or non-traditional. It can be in any medium (although most members will be photographers). It can express a feeling. It can explore a concept, idea or process. It can be an outlet. It can be elaborate or simple. It should be visual, although it might include words.

There are no rules.

Who is Katie K?

Katie Kolenberg is a national award winning Australian portrait photographer, and the owner of a family photography business in Canberra, Australia. She is also a speaker, a writer and a business mentor for creatives. She’s a mum of two boys and she’s passionate about personal development and living your best life in an honest, wholehearted and courageous way.

Katie created 52 Self Portraits 10 years ago and found the experience transformative and empowering. She is your guide through this life changing project.

Katie values community and connection above most other things. And her mission to help more people find freedom and fulfilment and have better relationships with themselves. 

Many of the photos on this page are from Katie’s first project, unless otherwise captioned. 

What does it cost?

52 Self Portraits is a membership and can be paid for monthly or annually in advance. Monthly membership is $45AUD. Annual membership is $500AUD.

If you are experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic, please indicate upon enrolment and I’ll get in touch to discuss alternative options. 

What your membership includes

True words

Who is this project for?

There are so many ways 52 Self Portraits can enrich, empower and transform your life. But if you identify or resonate with any of the following, it’s for you.


  • You are a fledgling ‘artist’ (in a specific medium or no determined medium as yet) and you want to learn how to expand your creative skills and find your artistic voice.
  • You are a professional artist (photographer, painter, mixed media, performer, writer etc) and would like a new space in which to explore, express and grow.
  • You are an entrepreneurial human who is looking for an avenue and a structure to help guide you in creating more authentic content, whether for your brand or future projects.
  • You are a leader in your field and you’re fascinated by the potential of this project to expand your capacity.
  • You want to extend and/or adapt your artistic skills into new areas and need a safe space in which to do it.
  • You are an explorer and you love trying out new experiences and connecting with other humans.
  • You have a deep need to make space in your life for meaningful self-care, and time that is just for you and/or your creative soul.
  • You want to be more courageous and confident in your life.
  • You want to re-ignite your creative spark and love of art.
  • You’re feeling heavy and burnt out and you need something to focus on that will help you find yourself again.
  • You want to have a better relationship with yourself.
  • You haven’t done anything that’s just for you in forever and you miss it.
  • You want to be your best self.
  • You want to feel more connected with other people.
  • You’re attracted to opportunities for personal growth and self development.

5 reasons to do 52 Self Portraits

1. Because any growth that you have personally and creatively will have a spillover effect into your business, your professional career and your personal life.

2. For your future self to look back on with compassion and insight for you and your life.

3. To overcome the fear of being courageous and vulnerable.

4. The gift of time each week to create or express something just for you, with no judgement or expectation.

5. To slowly and gently ignite or reignite your creative juices.


1. Do I have to do the full 12 months?

The best way of creating real change, ie, to build a better relationship with yourself, to build courage and spark your creativity is to commit to the project for the full 12 months. This is the tried and tested method. Many schools of thought around self-development, as well as neuroscience and psychology will back up the concept that lots of small steps add up to bigger ones.

2. Do I have to share my self portraits?

It’s not compulsory, but we recommend that you do. Your group is private and small to help build safety and connection with your fellow members. However, we totally understand that it can take some time for your system to feel safe. If you feel like you’re not ready to share straightaway, just wait until you start to feel safe enough, and only share the portraits that feel ok for you. You can start sharing more later on in the project as you build your courage. Remember, that one of the most important things to the success of this project is support and safety for all members, so we are creating spaces that help you become braver.

3. What if I change my mind part way through?

If you are on monthly payments, please contact Katie and let her know. You will need to provide 30 days notice and during that period your monthly payment will continue to be processed. Refunds are not possible if you’ve paid for the annual membership up front. Please reach out to Katie if you’re having doubts and let her give you some advice to get back on track.

4. How much time do I need to commit to the project?

As much or as little as you feel comfortable with. Remember that like with most things, you will get out of it what you put in. But just as true is that slower is faster and lots of tiny things will add up to big things. We recommend putting aside at least an hour a week to create and share your self portrait. And if you want to attend or watch the live events, it’s an hour or so once a month. And as far as participation in groups goes, that’s entirely up to you! See how you go, and adjust your level of commitment when it feels right for you.

5. What happens if I miss a week?

It doesn’t matter. Part of the process of this project is building a practice. Practice isn’t perfect. Sometimes things can get in the way; it doesn’t mean you failed. It’s like being on a diet or quitting something, just because you have a bad day, doesn’t mean you failed or you have to start all over again, it just means you try again the next day, or the next week. Some members may wish to ‘catch up’ if this happens, but it’s not compulsory. 

6. Do my self portraits have to be photographic?

No. You can create your self portraits in any medium, including the written word.

7. Do I have to be a professional artist or photographer?

No. In fact, this project would be the perfect way for someone to discover the language of photography or visual art. You always have access to yourself and you know yourself best of all—that’s why artists have been creating self portraits for centuries.

8. Will there be a theme and a direction each week?

No. Everyone’s process and journey is unique and we want you to tune in to you, and create what feels right for you. There will be guidance and support from Katie K to help you find your own groove if you need it. There will also be resources to help you out with inspiration or ideas if you get stuck and also to help you over a bump as you navigate the project. And of course there will be up to 29 other people in your group who will inspire you, challenge you, lift you up and help you without you even having to even ask.

Danielle Burrows
Claire Bilyard
Claire Stephens
Katie K

Join 52 Self Portraits

We are currently planning for a new intake to start later this year. 
Please join the waitlist to be notified.

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52 Self Portraits

A project by Katie K – mentor, speaker, writer, entrepreneur, photographer.