Selfie-love not crime but art

Nicola Adam, Group Editor
Nicola Adam, Group Editor

They are hidden deep down in my chest of personal memories, the photographs that chronicle my childhood as an awkward, shy child with a really, really, bad haircut.

Taken before the days when you could press ‘delete’ on a terrible shot, they are terrifyingly candid - thank goodness they are also blurred.

Now, 15 years after the term ‘selfie’ was first officially recorded in use in an Australian internet forum in 2002, we have control what we look like - at least in the digital and published world and we can cast an illusion to the world and ourselves to our heart’s content.

It is a emotion that has always been there for the exploitation, we buy clothes modelled by better looking versions of ourselves, we try them on in changing rooms with flattering mirrors and lighting, we apply makeup and look at ourselves at our most flattering angles in semi-darkness, squinting.

We hold in our stomachs and wear our shaped jeans.

The fact that it doesn’t matter how we look - it’s how we feel we look - which is where the selfie comes in.

Both adored and yet despised for their narcassistic roots and extreme use by vain celebrities, the selfie is really nothing new - Van Gogh’s series of self portraits were arguably an early form of Kim Kardashian’s Instagram feed with less pouting or skin.

And can we really denigrate an art form, which absolutely a digital selfie is, in a world where self-love, pride and confidence are qualities lauded above all other?

The advent of the selfie is the advent of control for everyone, not just famous people, as well as for the performance aspect and irony of taking such a shot.

Even the Pope has taken a selfie as well as former US president Barack Obama.

Everyone wants to show themselves in their perceived best light.

It matters.

It’s a confidence-boost.

Even if you don’t have an album, a book to sell - you have to sell yourself, to your ‘self’.

How you portray yourself can impact a job, a relationship - but ultimately a flattering shot makes you feel good, feel strong and feel successful.

It’s heady stuff.

And it keeps the constant despair of harsh reality at literal arm’s length.