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Copy of Selfies: Origination, Constitution, Mediation

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Emma Lewis

on 5 January 2014

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Transcript of Copy of Selfies: Origination, Constitution, Mediation

More feminine than masculine
Extreme narcissism
Origination, Constitution, Mediation

A simultaneity of past and future in an instantaneous present

-- Benedict Anderson,

Imagined Communities
Link between people and consumption
selfie (noun, informal):
; plural
a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.
Oxford English Dictionary
Selfies and Capitalism
Pictures of things vs. things w/people
Selfies > Still life
Still life = Selfie
Scrolling around social networks makes us lonely and depressed

Vacation photos, party photos, lifestyle photos
Evidently a different nature opens itself to the camera than opens to the naked eye - if only because an unconsciously penetrated space is substituted for a space consciously explored by man.
-- Walter Benjamin,
The Work of Art in the Age of
Mechanical Reproduction
The Practice of Self Photography
The Reproducibility of the Digital
"The feeling of strangeness that overcomes the actor before the camera . . . is basically of the same kind as the estrangement felt before one’s own image in the mirror. But now the reflected image has become separable, transportable. And where is it transported? Before the public."
-- Walter Benjamin,
The Work of Art in the Age of
Mechanical Reproduction
Facebook & Instagram
A novel outlet for "temporary photography"

Whereas photo outlets like Facebook and Instagram emphasize image permanence, Snapchat is the opposite

Represents a move away from the constant archivalism of modern digital photography

Originally seen as an app for "sexting," Snapchat is an incredibly popular outlet for
Two of the original platforms for the proliferation of digital images

Profile pictures, cover photos, and digital photo albums have become a staple of social media platforms

The selfie found its first real usage here, and have been multiplying ever since

The object of much criticism and parody, these sites help the selfie to maintain its questionable place in modern culture
The Globality of the Selfie
"Selfie" is Oxford English Dictionary's
Word of the Year
for 2013

2013 has seen a 17,000% increase in the usage of "selfie"

In many ways, this form of portraiture has become uniquely and universally identifiable
As an historical practice, the study of the self as an artistic subject is well known

From paintings to photography, self-portraiture is an established mode of creative representation

Originally, the practice of photography was one of portraiture

Photography inaugurates new modes of visual representation that capture the subject frozen in time

It is this technical nature that so fascinated Walter Benjamin in his analysis of mechanized image representations

At the turn of the 20th century, the advent of new technologies like Eastman Kodak's "brownie" cameras crystallized portraiture as a ubiquitous practice

By the turn of the 21st century, digital modes of image reproduction have compounded this ubiquity

With the portability and ergonomics of modern digital cameras and smart devices, recorded images are everywhere and anywhere

In this way, popular modes of self-representation have been made multiple with the help of new digital technologies

"Look Out, It's Instagram Envy"
"Facebook Study Says Envy Is Rampant"
“Look at me, look at me, admire me.”
-- Barbara Greenberg, Clinical Psychologist

Thank you!

Questions? Comments?

It’s the male gaze gone viral.

-- Ben Agger
Oversharing: Presentations of
Self In the Internet Age
subjective creation
"nostalgia for the present"
Happy #Selfie Saturday!
Full transcript