180 Minute Selfie

Processed with Moldiv

My very talented friend and co-worker Beth, who is a trained make-up artist graciously agreed to help me with this (and the next) look. For this selfie I tried to channel the artist Cindy Sherman and her famous self-portraits. I told Beth not to be shy with the make up so that I could really look different than I normally do. The make up took over 2 hours to apply and then we still spent more time on styling my hair. When everything was done, I thought it would be strange to leave the house looking this way, as I felt as though I was wearing a mask. While the make up actually came across less dramatic in the photos, it looked very fake and extreme in reality. I felt uncomfortable wearing so much make up, even though I usually wear make up on a daily basis. Beth explained to me that media personalities always wear this much make up- especially for film, TV, and fashion. This really made me think about how the people we see in the media would look in real life and how our perception is grossly distorted by he media lens, since we usually only get to see them with their ‘media-face’ on and this makes them look very pretty/perfect.

Not only did I want to create an extreme look for this selfie, I also wanted to make visual the very nature of the selfie. Currently there is much debate about the positives and negatives of the relatively new phenomenon of the selfie. Jezebel staff writer Erin Ryan criticizes “retaking a photo 12 times until your chin looks right” (n.p.) and suggests that selfies are a desperate cry for help in our misogynist culture. I wanted to make the act of re-taking photos visual by creating a collage of selfies. The large image in the middle of the collage is the one I thought looks most like a perfectly staged selfie- ‘duck face’, eyes turned up, camera shooting down (male gaze), cleavage visible, lots of make up, a sexy gaze inviting the viewer in to look. The ‘frame’ of smaller images is meant to visualize the selfies that did not make the cut and failed to get published in the end. Taking control of our own image like this is a reflection of how “technically mediated communities are characterized by both watching and [a] high awareness of being watched” (Marwick 379). In the online world we take pleasure in looking at and judging the images of others and at the same time we are very much aware that any image we post online will be looked at and scrutinized by our online audience.


*Special thanks and credit to Beth Lomond for helping me with the make up for this photo*

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