The Art of Self-Portraiture in the Age of Selfies

The art of self-portraiture has evolved with time due to shifting attitudes and technologies. Historically, these portraits have been an artistic expression created by famous artists who were seen as masters of their craft. Nowadays, however, this distinction has become increasingly blurred as photographers and artists alike continue to use self-portraiture as a method for showcasing their work.

Scholarly work on selfies has grown, including the book Selfie: The Art of a New Kind of Portrait (McCullough and McMillan 2015). Much of this research has focused on its aesthetic appeal; however, many scholars are also beginning to analyze its political and social effects.

Selfies have often been derided in the literature due to their perceived lack of authenticity and ability to create false images of people. This criticism is understandable, since self-portraits are essentially self-references that document particular moments in someone’s life.

One of the earliest selfies to gain notoriety was Robert Cornelius’ photo taken in 1839. While this may be considered to be the first photographic self-portrait, its creation story offers some mystery.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at several selfies to gain insight into how they were taken and viewed at the time. Some are stunningly beautiful while others lack aesthetic appeal; each has its own special significance and message.

Selfies can be an expression of oneself, while others aim to be humorous or edgy. They may even be meant to elicit empathy or make a statement about the subject being photographed.

Though selfies are usually dismissed as innocuous and boring, there are a few that stand out. These selfies usually feature distinctive features that set them apart from other self-portraits.

1. Selfies often feature a raised shoulder and/or are taken close-up on someone’s arm, reflecting that these photos are typically taken within arm’s reach of the person taking them, setting them apart from all other types of self-portraits.

2. They often feature a bad camera angle, causing the image to appear distorted and off-center. In contrast, prior self-portraits were usually taken with an ideal lens angle and often looked very real when viewed.

3. Photos taken by amateur or hobbyist photographers often look amateurish or unprofessional, as they are more often taken in public places like coffee shops where it’s more likely that people are unprofessional or unfamiliar with their cameras. As a result, photos like this tend to come off as unprofessional or amateurish rather than professional.

4. They often feature numerous hashtags, making them easily shareable on social media platforms. This encourages traffic to the original image and offers artists additional exposure.

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