To see yourself as others see you? Or to create the self you want others to see? Either way, you’re an object — most likely, a sex object! So how to explain the proliferation of so-called “self-shots” on the Internet?
Two methods are most common: (1) photographing a reflection in the mirror; (2) photographing one’s self with the camera in an outstretched hand. A third (pre-smartphone) method involves using a traditional camera’s timer or remote-controlled shutter release.
Before photographs there were paintings, of course. That’s when mirrors — or reflections in things like silver teapots, in 15th Century Europe — to capture one’s own image were first employed. Interestingly, almost all significant women painters, much more often than their male counterparts, have left examples of self-portraiture.
These self-portraits of artists open a fascinating window, critics have found, into the self-perception of people with psychological issues typically associated with artistic temperaments.
But what of today’s nude or provocatively clad self-portraitists? What are our psychological issues?
These advertisements for one’s self often convey a strong sense of narrative — as mundane as the style and color of the undies we choose to wear on a particular day to vignettes of fantasy, role-playing, and fiction.
The fact that I am brazenly offering myself up — rather than being secretly seen by a third-party observer/photographer — might make me an even more desirable sex object?
For I’m asking for it, right?