This is Selfitudes, a newsletter exploration of the selfie as if etude or attitude.
This is a space for explorations of photography, culture, and identity in broad strokes through the personal, the news, and monuments of art history.
I am a very young Gen Xer (many in my graduating class were elder Millennials); we didn’t take selfies. We all took photographs of groups at parties on disposable cameras, or shots of our friends together. Perhaps we went to glamour shots. We got our senior photos taken. As an older person I avoided them. They didn’t seem serious, or authentic, or even ‘good’ pictures. The vocabulary of the selfie is usually casual, but also silly or sexy or both. To be casual, silly or sexy on camera, with evidence in the prints back from the grocery store that might be left on the counter for everyone to look through wasn’t what was expected.
Over time, these are some of very reasons I’ve come to be fascinated with selfies as a genre, with writing and theory about selfies, and with duck lips and other poses.
To define what I’m speaking of, Paris Hilton tweeted in November 2017 that 11 years prior she and Britney Spears invented the [modern] selfie. Cindy Sherman’s photographic works, from those that seem like Renaissance portraits to the Untitled Film Stills are basically selfies, as is this work by Sofonisba Anguissola painted in 1556.
P.S. Any exploration of the selfie is also an exploration of the self. So, who am I? I’m an artist, writer and artist organizer. I often collaborate with Springboard for the Arts based in St. Paul, Minnesota, where my work is focused on sharing career building information with other artists. If you’re interested in that work check out my bio on their Artist Career Consultants page. For more on me as an artist and other collaborations, including with the Walker Art Center’s Mn Artists Presents program, the Wilder Foundation or others, please visit my artist website.
This is Selfitudes, a publication by artist Alison Bergblom Johnson. For the latest with Alison, please visit her Now page on her website. Alison is a multidisciplinary artist interested in joy, disability, and identity.
If you're into this work, please leave a financial tip. Suggested support for this newsletter is approximately $3 a month or $36 a year.