This mini thesis on the Selfie comes from Laurence Allard, a French Professor of Communication Sciences in Paris and Lille, co-author of the book Mobile Phone and Creation (Armand Colin / Recherches), and creator of the Mobactu blog. She was interviewed by Olivier Laurent for Time Magazine in mid-2014.

“The selfie originates from established self-portrait practices in the history of painting and photography, but also from online practices best represented by the use of profile pictures.

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“It possesses a real genealogy. But it has also found its own autonomy and definition. Today, we’d be mistaken to define the selfie as a narcissist object or simple self-portrait.

“the selfie is a mobile photographic genre in itself—one that didn’t exist before. It’s deeply linked to mobile photography, a genre that’s not only about the connected image, which is meant for others, but also about expressing your own interior voice.

“the selfie is not so much about a person’s view of him- or herself as it is about that person’s particular place in the world.

“It’s a portrait created by the self, of the self, within its surrounding environment, with the specific goal of sharing that portrait with friends, family or a larger community online.

“The selfie doesn’t exactly fit in the history of photography because of its temporality. It’s not necessarily created for historical and memorial purposes; it’s created with the idea of direct communication”

“It’s a document of the present, while traditional photography largely relates to the past.

“Unfortunately the selfie continues to be bogged down in this narcissist argument. It’s often confused with profile pictures and with some self-representation practices that we can see on Facebook.

“The media tends to highlight online social practices as being the result of narcissistic behaviors, simply because Internet and mobile phones are communication tools open to everyone.”

“In fact, these new communication tools have helped us because the media have now lost their centuries-old monopoly on not only the creation but the mass distribution of both images and of Speech.

“By equating these social practices with narcissism, the media attempts to neutralize their social potential.”

One thought on “The Selfie… (a professor’s view)

  1. The selfie has been a useful substitute for the replacement of a mirror in my own view.Seof conception and self realisation has been a forging of identity through a viewcof self from one’s own lens.Whether the selfie keeps us stuck on the terrible twos when toddlers begin emulation and self recognition as a developmental milestone one can always use a selfie to externalise the expressions of moods,emotion and self concept as a visual image to be shared.Living in world of externally imposed regulation,outsider conception of inner psyche and indeed persecution of self expression,the selfie provides an interaction through the eyes of a camera lens which can capture momentary images or those that might last as a historical recording or diary of self ethnography(naval gazing).Perhaps oversharing and self obsession couold be considered a valid criticism of malignant self love and narcissim,but that’s surely for advocates of privacy and realism by an accepted culturual or cosmopolitan norm.

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