The Visual Culture of Selfies in the Age of Social Media

This weeks text is titled ‘The Visual Culture of Selfies n the Age of Social Media’ by Derek Conrad Murray explores the social conventions of the selfie. The text starts by saying how self portraits are increasingly easier because of smartphones and social media such as Instagram and Facebook. Within this paper is an argument to whether ‘selfies’ are an act of female empowerment, or simply narcissism.

One quote that interested me was “The production of the self takes center stage, but also a contradictory mix of vulgarity and radicalism; one where a young girl will post a sexually provocative self-portrait and then defiantly follow-up with an impassioned written diatribe about rape and the abuses of women. ” This i believe is an act of female empowerment because it is giving women the power to express their sexuality (without adhering to the male gaze) whilst addressing serious matters relevant in today’s society.

I really enjoyed reading this text as it had a lot of good points, however i feel it had a lot of different views and it started to get a little confusing. However i feel like i took a lot away from this text and it is very thought provoking.


GirlGaze – Ruxandra Looft

In this weeks text, Ruxandra Looft explores the ‘fourth wave of Feminism’, in particular the ‘#GirlGaze’ project created by Amanda De Cadenet, which focuses on promoting women as photographers, rather than being in front of the camera, as she once experienced when she was first getting started in the industry. The images are posted onto Instagram with the hashtag ‘GirlGaze’ and promote the beauty and power of a woman, as well as body positivity. The initial aim with this project is to give women in the media a voice and a platform to speak on and do things that they want to do, without being overshadowed by men in the industry.

Pandora’s Camera – Photography after Photography

This weeks text “Pandora’s Camera” explored the topic of photo manipulation whilst addressing the morality of it, using examples such as Keira Knightley in ‘King Arthur’ and a Chanel perfume advertisement. The author explains that, in both promotional adverts, her chest is made relatively larger. He then goes onto say that this type of ‘retouching’ is ‘kind of like a default post-production process’.

In the ‘lies and falsehoods’ chapter of the book, the author makes a good point that there isn’t any need for the extreme manipulation of celebrities bodies because generally not many people care. “Should viewers of King Arthur who felt cheated by Keira Knightley’s flat chest in the film have protested? Did anyone walk out of the cinema in pique before the end? As far as i know, the producers received no complaints.” i completely agree with this statement because as an audience who sees the effects of photoshop and airbrushing so persistently throughout all forms of media, we tend to assume that everything has been manipulated. Therefore we are less shocked when we see an alternate or ‘real’ version of what has been initially shown to us.

I enjoyed reading this piece because it is interesting how we have become so desensitised to the use of photoshop and it has become the norm within the media in today’s society.

The Re-branding of Photography as Contemporary Art

Changing Place: The Re-branding of Photography as Contemporary Art blogs by Mischovi explores how Photography has landed itself the title of a contemporary art form. The essay starts by explaining that early on, photography wasn’t considered art, but more of something that ran in company of actual ‘art forms’ for example sculptures and paintings.

The main argument was that a photograph could be copied and the work could be shown in multiple museums at once, therefore making it more accessible and less ‘distinctive’. People would travel many miles to see a painting in person because it is one of a kind therefore creating a ‘value’, whereas people may be disinterested in a mere copy of a photograph.

It wasn’t until the 1980’s when people started seeing Photography’s potential, for example its use in fashion photography and documentary work. The sudden change in society and up rise of technology played a big role in photography being considered an art form and eventually resulting in photography having a place in museums.

Beauty in Photography – Robert Adams

Beauty in Photography is a series of essays written by Robert Adams, which explores the meaning of ‘beauty’ and what it means in photography, as well as his own interpretation on what beauty is.

In his first essay ‘Truth and Landscapes’ he discusses how landscape art must include an essence of the artist, so it isn’t just a documentation of the location it was taken, it is more personal and artistic. I agree with Adams in the sense that the photographer should be connected to the photo and show off their personality within their work, however, i believe some natural forms can be beautiful without a personal touch, for example the shapes of mountains and the reflections of lakes.

In the second essay, Adams talks about the essential importance of beauty in art. He describes beauty as not necessarily ‘pretty’, but is much more complex and elusive to define. However, he said that the particular element that radiates beauty for him is form. He tells us that successful reflections of form  photographs, paintings or sculptures, are beautiful. However, he contends, beauty is tied to the subject matter and therefore not all important photographs are beautiful and in fact some are disturbing

In my own opinion, i both agree and disagree with Adams’ studies because i agree that a photo should have a personal touch or a sense of the artist’s personality, however i do enjoy to look at images for their aesthetically pleasing shapes, and forms, and find a lot of images ‘beautiful’.