LOS ANGELES — What’s the best thing about selfies right now? That they are everywhere, and there’s nothing you can do to stop them. According to the internet, selfies are both the cause and effect of many social issues today.
Can a selfie make you skinnier? Of course not — it is a reflection of you today, however you happen to look. But now the makers of a new app, SkinniePix, offer users a way to shave 10 pounds off their selfie. Our fat phobic culture isn’t going away anytime soon, and apps like SkinniePix only amplify this reality.
In the world of teen selfiedom, we’ve encountered news that is more severe than the young British boy whose selfie obsession nearly took his life. In Mexico, a teen girl named Erandy Elizabeth Gutierrez killed her best friend Anel Baez by stabbing her 65 times. Baez had posted to Facebook naked selfies that the two of them shot together. According to Gawker, Gutierrez wrote on her Facebook account: “It may seem that I am very calm, but in my head I have killed you at least three times.”
In celebrity selfie news, Kim Kardashian was trying to take a selfie with an elephant in Thailand — an #elephantie, we’ll call this — until the elephant let her know that it wasn’t interested in being seen with her. She was in Thailand shooting the next season of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. In the United Kingdom, the royal family posed for a selfie! Just kidding — this version of Prince William, Duchess Kate Middleton, and even the queen herself are all top British lookalikes.
Back in America, next weekend at LACMA here in Los Angeles there’s a fascinating symposium going on about selfies, self-portraiture, and self-documentation featuring folks from Tindr, Snapchat, academia, and the art world.
That’s all the selfie news I’ve got. Now it’s on to this week’s selfie shooters, who offer up images from Los Angeles, Ireland, and New York City.
Location: New York City
“The fun part of this selfie is that my iPhone is so old that it does not have a forward facing camera. It took many tries for me to figure out how to shoot this. The scarf was a gift from Shana Beth Mason and I wanted her to see that I was wearing and enjoying it. And I like what happened with my hair.”
Location: Los Angeles
“I was on my way to pick up a 16mm film splicer I found on Craigsist when an image text from my friend Phil (Chicago) finally loaded up, he wrote, ‘I feel the opposite of this’ along with [the image].”
“I don’t know where he found that note— it’s been 7 months since I last visited the Midwest, so I doubt it was directed toward me. But?
“Approaching the intersection of W. Rosecrans and Van Ness Ave (Los Angeles), I spotted this Vietnamese restaurant.
I love Pho, so I pulled over into their parking lot, leaned over the passenger seat to take a quick photo, then sent it to Phil in response.
Later, I noticed a fleshy blob in the stonework of the buildings façade— my reflection on the passenger side window.”
Location: Co. Galway, Ireland
“This time, I am sharing my makeupless face not for cancer awareness – this time, I’m sharing to contribute to awareness of gender norms and societal expectation on each gender; to continue a dialogue about a culturally-exacerbated narcissism, versus that simple and beautiful common human longing to create the perfectly-representative self-portrait. Is the quick transition from self-gaze to narcissism primarily a Western / Westerized phenomenon, or does it arise in any place that begins to put high value on a ‘grabby-grabby,’ ‘let’s commodify-it’ approach to life; and maybe it is this approach itself that is the very worst of the legacy Westernized ‘progress’ leaves in its wake? Still, how might we move in the direction of a different kind of progress, encouraged by the lens of self-looking? How can we work towards progress that simultaneously engages in the process of self-looking – and, in doing so, taking back The Gaze – but in a ‘self-less’ way, devoid of narcissism, and acknowledging there is a certain degree of impossibility in capturing a perfectly-representative self-portrait as there is no one way any of us looks. Perhaps it is the search itself that will lead us to a new meaning of progress stemming from self-awareness: the honest and curious search for our own reflection that looks right to us, the representation of one way we look in the fleetingness of one passing moment, that when we find it makes us think — for ourselves and not out to prove anything — ‘Look, it’s me!'”
Occupation: Artist, Speaker, Art Writer, Curator, Food Scoffer
Location: Secure undisclosed urban industrial area.
“When I started using the social NETWORKING aspect of Facebook and started promoting my art with it (yeh, finally entered the 21st Century), I noticed that many artists pictured themselves with their art as a backdrop. Thus at a glance one can see that this person is an artist — good idea! So, for marketing/propaganda purposes, I wanted a profile pic that said right away: artist. One hot day painting outside (like I do as a semi-itinerant artist at various temporary set-ups) I sat down for a fumes-recovery break. The crust of drying paint on my hands plus the clownish/homeless-looking paint-throwing clothes seemed photo-worthy. I got the picture but afterward had to wipe green paint off the camera’s self-timer button. This has been my standard Facebook image almost always ever since. How odd that for the thousands of Facebook cyberfriends and LIKErs who know reclusive ol’ me only virtually, this “is” me. I sometimes change the profile pic briefly, but I’ve noticed that having a “stable” avatar is better when one is making comments every week in lots of high-traffic areas. The photo’s background actually is not art — just random muddy and rusty industrial surfaces.”
Location: Los Angeles
“Last week I caught my-selfie in a reflection. I had just made a huge pot of Yogi Tea. The aromas of ginger, cinnamon and more were wafting in the air, so I stuck my head in the pot to get a better whiff. While looking into the pot I noticed that my reflection in the liquid looked pretty clear, yet trippy. I’m into reflections and capturing them, this seemed like a good moment to snap away … ”
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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.