I hoped the end of ‘me by me’ photography was nigh, but nope.
Selfie Day is now celebrated each 21 June — primarily in ‘Merica, of course — and while the first actual selfie was taken by an American photographer in 1939, it took a drunk Aussie in 2002 to coin the term ‘selfie’.
Instead of realising our error and ending this foolishness, in 2023 the distinction between selfies and artistic self-photography (Warhol, Mapplethorpe, etc) has narrowed for some, widened for most.
Juliette Jourdain on a good hair day. But while serious artists are quick to distance themselves from ‘selfies’ how is their art really different from 99% of the dross you see from IG wannabes?
While the artist might make sure there isn’t a tampon dispenser (or whatever) on the wall behind her and probably doesn’t compose her art in a shopping-mall public toilet, those are just petty details.
Iness Rychlik, photographed here by Rankin for Hunger Magazine, says this portrait protests social media censorship and the sexualisation of her self-portraiture. So maybe it’s the artist’s intent that elevates it from the selfie?
But how this is this really different from ‘designer facial branding’ or the avalanche of virtue-signalling first responders making sure the whole world knows they wore a mask?
Artistic assertion of deep and meaningful significance aside, does a glib explanation mean it isn’t purce narcissism? But is narcissism even bad? I mean, got boobs, shall flaunt ’em!
WE created this monster.
To balance the ledger, there is now also a ‘No Selfie Day’ which absolutely nobody observes every 16 March. Celebrate the murder of Caesar by NOT posing for a self-portrait the next day!
The reality is, we are deeply and passionately in love with ourselves, and social media just gave us an excuse to express our self-love to the world. There is no other explanation, not even art.
Luckily at least half the human population — my half — don’t bloat the interwebz with belfies. Instead our small-brained cousins provide us with endless entertainment, which means I’ll be back.