Art of the Selfie
Right now, as you are reading this, someone is taking a selfie. Over one million selfies are taken per day around the world. The word itself has become so engrained in our society so quickly that not only has it been added to our dictionaries, but it has been named the word of the year for 2013.
51% of us have taken a selfie. If you somehow fall outside of that percentage, you have most likely at least participated in the world of the selfie in some way. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are all entertained by the selfie. From celebrity selfies to selfie fails to animal selfies, we can’t help but look. Selfies on social media are 38% more likely to be liked or commented on than pictures not featuring a person’s face. The most retweeted message to date is (surprise!) a selfie.
It’s clear that the selfie epidemic is here to stay. The question is, what do selfies say about us?
Some credit the selfie with being the beginning of the end of the world. Narcissism is taking over and we’re all going to spend the rest of our lives staring into the front facing camera on our iphones. While I’m sure some selfies are only taken out of a desire to validate how good looking we are based on how many “likes” we get, isn’t it possible that there is more to the selfie craze than simply vanity? Are all selfies really all bad?
Selfies are about identity, too. In the digital and very visual world that we all live in, selfies are sometimes the best way to show who we are, what we’re doing and how we’re feelings. We often use selfies as a way to communicate, to connect across all platforms with our friends and family and even strangers. We use selfies to capture moments in our lives. Graduates take celebratory selfies with their cap and gowns. We use selfies to locate ourselves. Would you rather send out a picture of some famous scene that has been taken millions of times or make it your own by turning that picture into a selfie?
Some have gone as far as to proclaim selfies as a genre of art. Selfies have changed and evolved like any other art form. Their roots can be traced back to the self-portraits that Rembrant obsessively painted in the early 1600’s. The first ever photographic portrait was taken in 1839 and it was, in fact, a selfie. If that is art, who’s to say our modern selfie isn’t? And if the selfie is art, it could be the most prevalent popular genre EVER.
Today we have limitless possibilities to make selfies creative and innovative. We can edit our selfies in any way we can imagine- airbrush, filters, faceswap, and on and on. It’s not an abnormal sight to see someone holding a camera on a stick. Go Pro cameras allow us more flexibility to stretch the traditional frame of the selfie. Time lapse apps allow us to combine daily selfies to show how we change and evolve as people from day to day. And if you haven’t seen the epic around the world selfie, you’re missing out.
Selfies capture our daily lives, they record our moments of happiness, they serve as evidence of our adventures, but most importantly they provide a medium for us to share who we are with the rest of the world. And isn’t that what art is all about?
If you’re not entirely convinced that selfies will one day be celebrated as art worldwide, then you can at least admit they can be a lot of fun. At infestation we figure, if you can’t beat them, join them, right?
At the London Design festival this past weekend, the team at Infestation had some of their own fun creating art out of selfies. Christo and Nix experimented with panoramic selfies, 360 degree selfies and more. Check out some of our favorite pictures below.
Click on the classic selfie image of Christo and Nix to see the cool 360 effect!
You can see here how easily selfies can be turned into a creative medium. Nix and Christo used selfies to show how they were experiencing the world around them at the London Design Festival. Think about it- what do you use selfies for?
By Nix Harwood and Shelby Szuba