Selfie Aesthetics: Gestural Photography and Digital Sociability
Gestural Photography and Digital Sociability
Over the past few years the selfie has emerged to prominence as an everyday cultural practice and photographic genre of extraordinary popularity - accompanied, perhaps inevitably, by public controversy and hostility. At the same time the selfie has also become an object of burgeoning scholarly interest. Surprisingly, however, relatively little work has theorized the aesthetics of the selfie. This paper seeks to fill that gap. Reconfiguring three concepts from traditional photography theory – indexicality, composition and reflection – this paper argues that the selfie is a communicative gesture, linking it to forms of mediated mobility across real and informational spaces and to the bodily operation of digital interfaces. It ultimately casts selfies as a radical departure from traditional photography and as a novel agent of digital sociability rather than of narcissism.
About the Speaker
Paul Frosh teaches in the Department of Communication and Journalism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His published articles span visual culture (especially the aesthetics of photography and television); the cultural industries and consumer culture; media, violent conflict and national sentiment; media witnessing and moral concern. His books include The Image Factory: Consumer Culture, Photography and the Visual Content Industry and Media Witnessing: Testimony in the Age of Mass Communication. He is currently engaged in a large-scale empirical investigation of iconic photographs and Israeli collective memory, and is also writing about photo-tagging.