Selfie Plus


The next two photos are meant to enact different categories of selfies. The type of selfie labeled Selfie Plus by Art Critic Jerry Saltz in an online article is a selfie that may “begin to speak in unintended tongues, that [carries] surpluses of meaning that the maker may not have known were there” (n.p.). In this selfie, I am posting with a Squamish Nation totem pole in North Vancouver, British Columbia. For selfies such as this, the meaning is derived not only from the image, but in combination with the caption that accompanies the image. The image, together with the words that supplement it, create an “unstable, obstinate meanings that come[s] to the fore” (Saltz n.p.). By taking a selfie in a culturally and/or historically significant location, I wanted to highlight how location, setting, and the signs visible in the photograph play an important role in what we communicate with our selfies. Through the presence of the totem pole and the caption of the photo, I am emphasizing many things, including (but not limited to) that North Vancouver is unceded First Nations territory, that the Frist Nations of British Columbia have a controversial story to tell, and that I, as a foreigner in Canada enjoy appropriating Aboriginal art as something visually pleasing and ‘Canadian.’ I am attempting for the image and the text to “merge in ways that add more oomph” (Saltz n.p.). While images like this may very rightfully be seen as controversial or taste-less, we “can’t merely dismiss [them] as violations of sanctified spaces or lapses of judgment” (Saltz n.p.), as they may encourage us and/or our audience to think about important issues more deeply.


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