A Portrait of the Selfie

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Although the art of self-portraiture — or a portrait of oneself done by oneself — has been around for centuries, the selfie, which is a self-portrait photo typically taken with a camera phone, is only several years old.

But, Jerry Saltz, the insightful art critic for New York Magazine, writes: “We live in the age of the selfie. A fast self-portrait, made with a smartphone’s camera and immediately distributed and inscribed into a network, is an instant visual communication of where we are, what we’re doing, who we think we are, and who we think is watching.”

It’s how Saltz begins Art at Arm’s Length: A History of the Selfie, his wonderful essay on just how this viral art form really is a new visual genre.

He breaks the essay into four parts:

• Defining a new form

• What they say

• What they don’t say (but do reveal)

• Art history, art future

You may not agree with him, but it’s a great read.

Check out the entire essay here.