Reading List: The Selfie
It is difficult for most people over a certain age to utter the word "selfie" without producing at the same time a rather dismissive kids these days smirk.
And maybe they've got a point. I mean, really. Kids these day!
But the trouble with that smirk is that it becomes an excuse to avoid reflection and critique. Selfies exist. And if all we do is roll our eyes, we miss a chance to think about what they mean and why they matter.
Are selfies really proof of a generation's narcissism? Are they bad for America? Good for art?
What if I said that what we're looking at is nothing less than a radical feminist intervention in the trajectory of portraiture in Western visual culture? Too much? Perhaps it's just a fluke, an accident of technological innovation? The result of the cameraphone's ubiquity, you say, and something about the length of the human arm?
Now we're talking.
I don't have any final answers, but I dig the questions. To keep us going, I offer this evolving reading list.
- "Here I am Taking a Picture of Myself." (Alex Williams, The New York Times Study Styles. February 2006)
- "Defense of 'the selfie' confirms that this era will forever be known as the stupidest of all eras." (Meghan Murphy, Feminist Current. January 2013)
- "The Social Psychology of the Selfie." (Christine Erickson, Mashable. February 2013)
- "The Young-Girl and the Selfie." (Sarah Gram, Textual Relations. March 2013. HT Longreads)
- "Selfies: Narcissism or Self-Exploration?" (Pamela B Rutledge, Psychology Today. April 2013)
- "Why Selfies Matter" (Alexandra Sifferlin, Time. September 2013)
- "Towards a Philosophy of the Selfie." (Philoselfie.tumblr.com. May 2013)
- "In Praise of Selfies: From Self-Conscious to Self-Constructive." (Casey N. Cep, Pacific Standard, July 2013. HT Longreads)
- "Why we take selfies." (Chris Gayomali, The Week. August 2013)
- "A Good Angle is Hard to Find." (Sarah Hepola, The Morning News. September 2013. HT Longreads)
- "Snaps of America." (Larissa Pham, Full Stop. September 2013. HT Longreads)
- "My Selfie, Myself." (Jenna Wortham, The New York Times. October 2013)
- "Taking Our Selfies Seriously." (Daniel Menaker, The New York Times. November 2013)
- "Selfies as the Other Side of the Mirror." (Alicia Eler, Hyperallergic. December 2013)
- "The Meanings of the Selfie." (James Franco, The New York Times. December 2013) James Franco wrote this, so.... See also: "Is James Franco's Philosophical Explanation of the Selfie Ridiculous or On Point?" (Shannon Houston, Hollywood.com. January 2014)
- "Art at Arm’s Length: A History of the Selfie." (Jerry Saltz, Vulture. January 2014)
- "Sharing the (self) love: the rise of the selfie and digital narcissism." (Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Guardian Media Network Blog. March 2014)
- "Ways of Seeing Instagram." (Ben Davis, ArtNet. June 2014)
"Selfie Culture at the Intersection of the Corporate and the Surveillance States." (Henry Giroux, Counterpunch. February 2015)
- "Selfie." (Documentary for Dove, directed by Cynthia Wade. January 2014)
- "The Upside of Social Media Narcissism." (BrainCraft. January 2014)
- "The Evolution Of Selfies." (BuzzFeed. May 2014)
- "Why Do We Hate Selfies?" (PBS Idea Channel. February 2014)
- "Selfies - a visual analysis" (Elizabeth Urbanski, TEDxNavesink. September 2013)
- "Scholarly reflections on the ‘selfie’" (Oxford University Press Blog. November 2013)
- Seeing Ourselves Through Technology: How We Use Selfies, Blogs and Wearable Devices to See and Shape Ourselves (Jill Walker Rettberg, Palgrave Macmillan. October 2014)
- "Selfie Culture at the Intersection of the Corporate and the Surveillance States." (Henry Giroux, Counterpunch. February 2015)
- The Selfies Research Network Facebook Group.
Objects for Consideration
- "14 Grindr Profile Pics Taken at the Holocaust Memorial." (Stacy Lambe, BuzzFeed. January 2013)
- Tumblr: Selfies at Funerals (Jason Feifer. October - December 2013. HT The Atlantic. For further reading, see Mr. Feifer's compilation of press about the project. ). The project ended with the declaration, "Our work here is done," when President Obama took "the ultimate funeral selfie."
- "Forget selfies, we want to see your shelfies." (The Guardian Books Blog. December 2013
- "Anonymous." (Lindsay Bottos, Tumblr. January 2014. via BuzzFeed) Artist combines selfies with anonymous internet comments she's received about her selfies.
Thoughts? Links I should add? Let me know.