However, warns Laurence Allard, a French professor and mobile technology specialist, the very name of the product itself might be self-limiting.
“It’s contradictory,” she says. “The selfie isn’t just a portrait. It has its own codes and rules, and the main one is that a selfie has to have been taken by hand. An authentic selfie should show it was taken with your arm extended—that’s a sort of signature.” And, she explains, the use of a selfie stick removes that particular element from the frame.
— How the Selfie Stick is Killing the Selfie – LightBox
Today in “Are we sure Time hasn’t been replaced with The Onion” news, apparently now we are expected to ponder whether introducing a new layer of technological mediation between the photographer and their camera (i.e., ATTACHING IT TO A GODDAMN STICK) may jeopardize the authenticity of selfies.
This is ridiculous. I understand wanting to push back against the jerks who refuse to shut up about how selfies are ruining photography. But if there is one area where photography does not have to worry about receiving academic validation and legitimation of its “authenticity,” one area where the photograph can proceed free of any anxiety over its seriousness and its intellectual genealogy, surely it’s selfies. COME ON.
Or maybe there is not and never will be space in photography which can be free from demands for legitimation, because if we stop proving photography is an art in every moment we trip a shutter, we’ll all have to give up our Art Cards and admit we just like playing with cameras.
I’m not doing it to titillate anybody’s interests. I want to show off how beautiful my subjects are, whether it’s a cheetah or a live girl or two of them together. That’s more important to me than anything.
—Bunny Yeager, 1929–2014
Yeager always styled her own backdrops, props and costumes—often making objects and bathing suits from materials at hand. Her unique self-portrait techniques certainly foreshadow the work of contemporary artists Cindy Sherman and Yasumasa Morimura, known for their own masquerade-based self-portraiture.
—Andy Warhol Museum
Ms. Yeager, who took up her art by accident, was one of the world’s most celebrated photographers of female nudes and near-nudes of the 1950s and ’60s. She is widely credited with helping turn the erotic pinup — long a murky enterprise in every sense of the word — into high photographic art.
—Her Obituary in the New York Times
We lost one of the stars of Tumblr on Monday. It’s interesting to read the obits and think about how things have changed—both in the what counts as art and what counts as titillating departments. And how so much of both areas today reference these photos still.
It’s also a worthwhile reminder that so much of art now wasn’t art when it was first produced and how fluid those borders and classifications are. Especially in photography.
It’s easy to dismiss these as kitschy pin-ups. Because they are. But they’re so much more too. There’s self-representation. There’s the blurring of the line between photographer and model. There’s the idea of a safe space for the models to work away from any male gaze. There’s the fact that so much of her work appears to have harnessed a genuine sense of fun. There’s the fact that so much of this look (much of which is non-studio in daylight) is the kind of thing people are still trying to copy today.
The rise of digital technologies witnessed the exponential growth of photographic production and, in particular, photographic self-portraiture…The instantaneity of digital photography is one of the key drivers in the rise of the selfie. In the past a person posing for a family photograph would see the results with a significant delay – in most cases the subject in the image would rarely see the results at all as photographs were archived in the family album. Digital photography changed our relationship to photography completely: the results are instantly visible and photographs can be deleted and retaken if the subject or the photographer cares to do so.
Deconstructing the Selfie | Visual Culture Blog.
That rarest of photography writing twists: a legit case of digital difference.
I also really like this bit about self-portraiture as performance, going back to the early days of the medium:
Since the very inception of photography in the mid-19th century, photographers have habitually used the camera to represent themselves. Perhaps one of the best-known examples of an early photographic self-portrait is Hippolyte Bayard’s photograph titled Self Portrait as a Drowned Man from 1840. Crucially, like in the modern day selfies of the 21st century, Bayard elects to perform to the camera and act out an alter ego – a dead man in this case. While photography is a medium that is predominantly associated with ‘reality’ or ‘truth’, self-portraiture always allowed a degree of performance or acting for the camera. It was, perhaps, the photographers’ opportunity to create a version of him or herself that stands in contrast to the ‘realness’ most photographs are associated with.