Open Access

From Self-Portrait to Selfie: Contemporary Art and Self-Representation in the Social Media Age

In Self-Representation in an Expanded Field, , Ed.


Defined as a self-image made with a hand-held mobile device and shared via social media platforms, the selfie has facilitated self-imaging becoming a ubiquitous part of globally networked contemporary life. Beyond this, selfies have facilitated a diversity of image-making practices and enabled otherwise representationally marginalized constituencies to insert self-representations into visual culture. In the Western European and North American art-historical context, self-portraiture has been somewhat rigidly albeit obliquely defined, and selfies have facilitated a shift regarding who literally holds the power to self-image. Like self-portraits, not all selfies are inherently aesthetically or conceptually rigorous or Contemporary Art. But—as this project aims to address via a variety of interdisciplinary approaches—selfies have irreversibly impacted visual culture, contemporary art, and portraiture in particular. The essays gathered herein reveal that in our current moment, it is necessary and advantageous to consider the merits and interventions of selfies and self-portraiture in an expanded field of self-representations. Selfies propose new modes of self-imaging, forward emerging aesthetics and challenge established methods, proving that as scholars and image-makers, it is necessary to adapt and innovate in order to contend with the most current form of self-representation to date. From various interdisciplinary global perspectives, authors investigate various subgenres, aesthetic practices, and lineages in which selfies intervene to enrich the discourse on self-representation in the expanded field today.
Self-Representation in an Expanded Field
Published in:

Self-Representation in an Expanded Field

Ace Lehner
, Ed.
Published: May 2021
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