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From self-portrait to selfie

De 10/12/2020 aan 15:00

What is the difference between self-portraiture, a practice celebrated for centuries in both painting and photography, and the digital selfie often described as superficial? On the surface, these images of oneself by oneself are the same, but on closer inspection they are quite distinct whether they stem from narcissism or a desire for introspection. 


Immortalized Frida Khalo painting one of her 55 self-portraits, ©Theartstory


Where the selfie only attaches itself to the face, the self-portrait is the result of a true composition thought out and worked out in advance where the background is important and part of the image. Decoration, interior or plain canvas, the background is a character in its own right in the self-portrait. 


The technique also differs. The selfie responds to a desire for immediacy, satisfying a desire to photograph oneself in the moment, whereas the self-portrait requires a few minutes of installation. Setting the tripod, remote control or self-timer and testing: a studied staging whereas the selfie is more spontaneous and requires only a smartphone or even a selfie pole for those who wish to pose with several people or avoid an unsightly arm in the angle of the image.


The selfie taken in 2014 at the Oscars by Ellen DeGeneres, the most retweeted photo in history ©Ellen DeGeneres


Licked image the self-portrait crosses time; the selfie in framing and approximate rendering is immediately shared, immediately forgotten. The selfie frees itself from the standards of photography, takes its liberties with the rule of thirds, of composition, sharpness loses importance.  


Vivian Maier, Self Portrait Mirror Red Clothing Shop, Maloof Collection Associated Press 


Their goals differ, if the self-portrait is rather intended for family albums or a portrait gallery, the selfie is thought to be shared and spread on social networks to generate an exchange. The more intimate self-portrait is reserved for the private sphere where the selfie calls for the gaze and commentary of the other.


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Adept of selfie or self-portrait? Both will allow you to progress in your practice of photography and to obtain original portraits of yourself that can be printed. An ideal gift for the holiday season, a photo print of your most beautiful selfies and self-portraits will delight your parents and grandparents. Our photo lab can even develop your Instagram photos in a professional quality finish. It is now possible to have your personal photos, portraits and selfies developed online in gallery quality.



© 2020 Justine Grosset