The Art of the #Selfie

By an extension of ones arm, and a tap of a screen, the selfie became famous. These actions are usually accompanied by ‘the duck face’ a phrase now common in the English speaking world. 30 pictures later you have finally perfected your head tilt and pout, the image is ready for editing, to then be uploaded onto all 9 social media accounts.

The Selfie has become part of the social experience, a ubiquitous trend, resulting in mass participation. The phenomena of social media, photo-sharing and blogging, has facilitated a complex environment where the perception of ones self can be projected to the masses.

Karen Donnachie describes the selfie as a significant phenomenon of contemporary amateur photography, they way in which it is made and distributed, as well as the possible motivations driving this particular style of self-portrait.

Emerging motivations for capturing oneself is that of collective identity and enhancing ones-self awareness. For those of you who take selfies as a form of self expression, great, I have nothing against you. However for individuals who strive to capture the perfect self portrait, using photo editing and comparing yourself to the popularity of others, leading to a misrepresentation of ones self, could be doing more harm than good. Donnachie describes this as “Anxious self-scrutiny” (which could arguably be manifested in the repeated action of the selfie).

In September last year I wrote a blog post titled The Selfie Phenomenon and it’s interesting to reflect on how far the art form has come in a few months. Natalie Villacorta (2014) published an article for Politico titled ‘The Politics of the selfie’, explaining that elected officials in the US are employing the selfie as a digital-age tool to appear authentic, accessible and spontaneous to the public. However this is contradicted in Jerry Saltz article, as he names and shames Barack Obama’s use of the selfie at Nelson Mandela’s funeral. Thus, we can determine that the selfie has a time and place associated with its use.


The future of the selfie is quite interesting to predict. Saltz (2014) predicts that we’ll see selfies of ordeal, adventure, family history, sickness, and death. Personally, I cant wait to see what will come of the risqué (naked selfies) that have the potential to be seen by millions. What could this mean for the future of those exposed?


Donnachie, K, Selfies, #me: Glimpses of authenticity in the Narcissus’ pool of the networked amateur self-portrait, Acaedmia, accessed 23/03/14,

Saltz, J, 2014, Art at Arm’s Length: A history of the selfie, New York Magazine, viewed 16/03/14,

Villacorta, N 2014, ‘The Politics of the Selfie’, Politico, accessed 23/03/14,


About Nicola Salter

Nicola. 21. UOW Graduate
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