I don’t believe people cease being aware of the presence of the camera in the presence of the camera. It is a convention, between ethnographers and photographers: people are supposed to “get used to it” and “stop paying attention,” but people always know. Even if they do not explicitly acknowledge that the camera is present, they would still perform, keeping in mind that beyond the gaze of those in attendance there is this unlimited terrifying gaze which belongs to some greater otherness. History, eternal archive, the unexpected viewer, the ideal foreigner, the other other, looking out of her boundless otherness, absolute alienness, immeasurable contrariety.
I wonder what happens at the moment when you are gazed at and a gazer simultaneously.
We execute some more agency over photographs we make ourselves.
Selfie is an act of self-representation. We select selfie in accordance to what we want to appear. The variety of practices is easily classifiable.
A List of Different Selfies
Shirtless selfies — tinder selfie: sexually alluring
Feminist selfies — coming to terms with one’s own appearance, anti-glamour
Duckface – representation of femininity
Fish face – another representation
Exotic-place selfie — I am a traveler
Car selfie — owning a place; mobility
Ironic male selfie with eyebrow asymmetry
It is needed to note specifically the existence and interest to pre-death selfies. We are engaged in a deadly sport. Selfie as a cause of death.
Self-portrait is a venerate genre that has centuries of history, but selfie as a quick snapshot has been proliferating for only these last several years, since masses got access to the affordable, accessible, and ubiquitous photography technology.
“In 2013, the Oxford English Dictionary announced that its word of the year was ‘selfie’, which it defined as ‘a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website’. […] In 2013, 184 million pictures were tagged as selfies on Instagram alone. The selfie is a striking example of how once elite pursuits have become a global visual culture. At one time, self-portraits were the preserve of a highly skilled few. Now anyone with a camera phone can make one. […] The selfie is a fusion of the self-image, the self-portrait of the artist as a hero and the machine image of modern art that works as a digital performance. It has created a new way to think of the history of visual culture as that of the self-portrait. […] The ‘selfie’ took off following the placement of a good quality front camera on the iPhone 4 in 2010, with other phones rapidly following suit. […] Because it draws on the long history of the self-portrait, it’s likely that the selfie in one form or another will continue to play a role in shaping how to see people for a long time to come. The selfie shows how a global visual culture is now a standard part of everyday life for millions that takes the performance of our own ‘image’ as its point of departure.” (Mirzoeff, 2015, pp. 31, 63, 69).
Selfie is regarded as a shameful practice, something suggestive of narcissism and self-indulgence. Yet despite criticism, selfie proliferates.
Mirzoeff, Nicholas. (2015). How to See the World. From Chapter one: How to See Yourself.