Articles

New Selfies for a New Year

by Alicia Eler on January 6, 2014

Selfie the brand (via wearebuild.com)

Selfie the brand (via wearebuild.com)

CHICAGO — We’re starting 2014 off right with lots and lots of selfies. Now that we’ve crowned the selfie kings, it’s back to selfie business as usual.

Twenty-year-old Jen Selter seems complacent with the fact that she does mostly body selfies, telling the New York Post that people just want to see her work out while wearing one of her 150 pairs of yoga pants.

Selfie is moving up in the world of brands thanks to the efforts of one design studio, Build, to create a beautiful logo and watermark.

Danielle Bruckman recreated a series of found selfies that portray a buff man sporting a taut handlebar mustache. These images popped up on Bruckman’s iCloud after she misplaced her phone on New Year’s Eve 2012; she quickly became intrigued by this mysterious man she’d never met but who, by some act of kismet, had become a part of her virtual world. One year later, she launched her recreated selfies of her as him.

Who do you see when you gaze into your selfie mirror? This week’s selfie snappers tell us.

Mark Blanchard

Mark Blanchard, "The Voices In My Head" selfie (2013).

Mark Blanchard, “The Voices In My Head” selfie (2013).

Occupation: Student
Location: Oberlin, Ohio, and Chicago

“This girl I know and love told me to take a picture of myself at that moment because she was longin’. My best friend deserves always more than some half-inspired selfie, so I came up with this.

Understand the greatest battle is the one against yourself. This is the battle fought in this selfie; this is the battle where we experience the most growth. The encouraging crowd’s enthusiasm overwhelms as they witness the internal struggle. The heartened crowd signifies the importance of self worth and its impact towards our success in our most challenging moments. We are beautiful as we are, with our imperfections. Growth is a part of who I am.

A voice can serve as an agent of expression — similarly do the movements portrayed in this selfie serve as an expression, a communication, an ongoing conversation about what it means to be me.”

Jenny Sharaf

Jenny Sharaf's bathroom selfie

Jenny Sharaf’s bathroom selfie

Occupation: Artist, founder of Gallery Daily
Location: San Francisco

“Selfies are inherently awkward and silly. If you’re like most, you probably took a few before you liked one. The bathroom seemed like the perfect spot to capture that, plus you can get those cheesy cliched mirror shots. Bathrooms are a strange space because, if I’m being really honest, I do bring my phone with me and totally scroll my Instagram feed as a I pee and do other lady-like things. But, if it comes to a phone call, that can wait. The mute button is not reliable.”

Brannon Rockwell-Charland

Brannon Rockwell-Charland's selfie with grandmother (2013)

Brannon Rockwell-Charland’s selfie with grandmother (2013)

Brannon Rockwell-Charland's selfie with grandfather (2013)

Brannon Rockwell-Charland’s selfie with grandfather (2013)

Occupation: Student at Oberlin College
Location: Oberlin, Ohio, and Berkeley, California

“I’m interested in using self-portraiture to re-insert myself into old family photographs. The first image is a screenshot of a webcam selfie with a portrait of my grandmother when she was 16. The second image is part of a project I did where I projected old family photos onto myself and photographed the result. Again, my grandmother is featured, along with my grandfather. I like the idea of bringing webcams, screenshots, higher-quality digital images, and old/found photos together in order to bridge interpersonal and technological generational gaps. For me, self-portraits can be a way of interacting with relatives long gone.”

Robert Haslach

Robert Haslach, "Selfie stimulated by posting on selfies" (2013)

Robert Haslach, “Selfie stimulated by posting on selfies” (2013)

Occupation: Artist
Location: Washington, DC

“How is a selfie not a self-portrait?

Because the word is a neologism and its object must therefore somehow be neo, as well?

Because, while a mediated image, it does not use media and supports that require laborious effort to gain sufficient technical skill to turn them to your own purpose?

Specifically (and only because) a selfie consists of 1001000101011010101011100001 etc. expressed in an electronic visualizer but not of colored dirts carried in oil or acrylic or water or conté crayon or pastels or even humble graphite rubbed on paper or cloth?

Because it is trivial and does not take any compositional effort, and that is why is is known by its ironically insulting and self-deprecating diminutive?

Because its existence ends when its visualizer is deprived of electric current?

Because it is a safe way to present yourself to the world?”

Janet Curley Cannon

Janet Curley Cannon, "Greg & I in LA" selfie (2013)

Janet Curley Cannon, “Greg & I in LA” selfie (2013)

Occupation: Artist
Location: Berkshire, England

“As an artist I have been taking/drawing selfies for many years. In the last decade I have started a series of reflected selfie’s with my husband in places we travel, capturing us within the environment we are visiting. Earlier this year we explored downtown LA, as my art is inspired by the urban built environment, the distorted patterns of the convention centre was the perfect backdrop.”

*   *   *

I, Selfie is a series of ongoing conversations around people working in the medium of the selfie. The selfie imagemakers are accepting themselves as objects and reflecting their images back through the smartphone camera lens. They control the images of themselves that float around these murky virtual waters, but they cannot anticipate how these images will be received or perceived by others who exist in the internet void, a space that we pleasurably and both selfishly and selflessly indulge in. 

Email Hyperallergic your selfie at selfies [at] hyperallergic.com, along with a brief explanation of why you shot it and what it means to you.

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  • DeBorah Palmer

    Selfies are nothing new. The name is new but not the action. I remember back in the day my girlfriend and I would go to Woolworths aka the Five and Dime, go into the photo booth, drop in a few quarters and take goofy pictures until we ran out of coins. Anybody who was a teenager during the 70s knows exactly what I mean. Smart phones and digital cameras make taking Selfies a lot easier and you do get more range but I did enjoy watching that old time photo machine spit out pictures of me and my crazy girlfriend making funny faces.

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