With over 300,000 users uploading images to Instagram, the proliferation of image capturing and sharing has never been so prevalent. Of these images, millions are selfies, or digital photographic self-portraits which are often accompanied by the hashtag #selfie. In 2013, Oxford Dictionaries named their word of the year selfie, leading us believe this aggregation of images of ourselves had reached a feverish intensity. Selfies are undoubtedly everywhere — posted from the gym, the car, in the nightclub — adopting selfie culture is truly commonplace. Often accompanied by a rhetoric of vanity and self-indulge, selfies have become a way for us to see and share parts of ourselves with an audience we expect or imagine to be there watching us.
Selfies in this way operate as a unique social phenomena, they are a way for us to feel seen and be seen, to be voyeurs and judges, and ultimately exhibitionists. In today’s Open Discussion, I want to ask if you think there’s any point in creating an artistic self-portrait anymore if we have collectively been inundated with a tremendous conglomeration of selfies? Are we drowning under the gigabytes of selfie data? And what’s the point, what are we achieving by creating an artistic self-portrait anymore?
The longstanding tradition of artists painting, drawing or photographing themselves has been an artistic staple forever. Since we could paint on cave walls we have created depictions of our own image. But in our current selfie-crazed-image-obsessed-world, is there still value in this act?