CHICAGO — Last week we looked at a few self-portraits by famous artists, classifying these as predecessors to the selfie. Now that anyone can take a photo of themselves and upload it to social media for an insta-audience, the notion of what’s an arty smartphone self-portrait and what’s “art” is up for debate. Everyone can make what they want to call art, but not everyone is an artist, right? Who can and should make these selfies? This new set toys with these questions. Who’s an artist, and who’s just playing around with the smartphone camera?
CHICAGO — The selfie is a smartphone-produced version of the self-portrait, which has been a staple of art and photography history since artists first began seeing examining their own images in the mirror.
CHICAGO — Selfies are private moments made available for public consumption. When the shutter snaps, the subject realizes that they’re ready to admit something about themselves that would otherwise remain hidden.
CHICAGO — This week’s selfie series is curated entirely from submissions that you, dear internet reader, sent to me through the selfies [at] hyperallergic [dot] com email address. I was wondering if you’d accept the challenge to write, and indeed, you did. Thank you. You are fearless.
CHICAGO — Selfies are part of our voluntary self-exposure in an attempt to take back the images of ourselves, but in the process we also give ourselves away. In the world of online selfies, faces are the focus; bodies tend to appear as afterthoughts. We see a collection of eyes, lips, mouths, noses, and cheekbones, all of which makes facial recognition online that much easier. By voluntarily offering your face to the internet public space, you become a part of the identifiable masses. Isn’t it time you faced yourselfie today?
CHICAGO — The selfie is a mirror, an illusion of a mirror, an egotistical moment wrapped in time, and an embarrassing moment post-shave. But there is something curious about seeing your doppelgänger reflected back at you rather than running into him or her on the street.
CHICAGO — A few weeks ago, I thought that I’d had it with selfies It began with a simple Facebook post declaring: “Just say NO to SELFIES <3 <3 <3." Less than a week later, I found myself doing exactly what I feared: Alone in a dressing room at Target, I was snapping selfies with my iPhone, selecting the perfect one or two, and uploading them to Facebook. The selfies weren't over — in fact, they had just begun.
CHICAGO — People online have a lot to say about selfies: love them, hate them, feel indifferent about them, think they’re part of internet culture, a place we escape to, meld with our offline lives (making for a fluid but often fraught IRL-URL existence), something we learn from. If the selfie is the ultimate mirror in our internet house of mirrors, and we can frame our photos and curate ourselves as we want others to see us, then surely the selfie is an act of taking back the gaze.
CHICAGO — “Even if you’re not doing anything wrong, you’re being watched and recorded,” 29-year-old spy Edward Snowden told the Guardian last Sunday, openly identifying himself as the whistleblower on the NSA PRISM program, which he alleged is gathering communications data not just from foreigners, as officials previous said, but on a vast domestic scale. Nine major internet companies, including Google, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo! and Facebook are all named as offering up data, according to DemocracyNow. We are all being watched, and now we know it.
MELBOURNE, Australia — Cycling around the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick, I noticed a small shop entirely covered in photographs: the shop-front, the door, the lintel, everything. I stopped. Was it the work of someone with an obsessive-compulsive disorder? Was it some kind of art installation? When I met Vittorio, the proprietor, I learned that this was a work of self-portraiture on an incredible scale.
There was a period when I didn’t know what, exactly a “selfie” was. It sounded like a euphemism for something. Now I know that it’s just a self-portrait — our medium of choice for Facebook and Instagram (RIP). Two recent phenomena, faked selfies and art critic Brian Droitcour’s #artselfies, take the format to the next level.