Monday, August 21, 2006

Look at Me

I guess that vanity is the backbone of all art; at its essence, all art says, look at my view of the world, it is better, more accurate, more beautiful, than yours. What message, then, can we infer from an artist who creates a microcosm populated entirely by his/her extraordinarily cute self? No need to look further than a Web site with millions of die-hard, teenage devotees (mySpace, face book). What you'll notice is a culture steeped in the identity of one's self. From this culture surrounded by vanity has emerged a different way of looking and recording the self. The self exists virtually within blogs, in network communities, as real and imaginary identites. Self-portraiture photography as a result is feeding on an unabashed interest in the "me."

Access to cameras is now a lot more democratic. Anyone with a cell phone, webcam, or digital point-and-shoot is now a photographer. Anyone with a personal computer and photo manipulation software owns a darkroom. What have we done with these great new tools? Ironic or not, we've taken photos of ourselves on unprecedented levels. On, about 60 million members post photos and personal stats on their own web portal. The centerpiece of these profiles is the self-portrait.

On this note, I've just discovered fd's flickr toys and thought I'd indulge in a bit of vanity myself.

Almost always it is the fear of being ourselves that brings us to the mirror. ~ Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin


Anonymous said...

But what is self without the appreciation of others.

ian g said...

I disagree with the premise that all art says my view is "better, more accurate, more beautiful, than yours". I think great art can point out what's wrong with the world around us, helping enlighten those who only see "beauty" through rose tinted glasses. Such artists as Dylan, Van Gogh, Munch, Lennon, for example.

I do think it very sad the way the internet has become a mere playground for teenage vanities. MySpace is an appalling waste of space. (There are others, like Faceparty.) Maybe this will change when future post teen generations are more computer literate.

One last point: I see no photographs on MySpace, just snapshots - normally with that up the camera!

I like your blog. It's more intelligent than most. I've been trying to stir mine up a little with a kind of "random" side bar people can contribute towards. The current exhibition is intended to make fun of the "internet friend" culture. Future exhibitions will include different pictures, hopefully NOT portraits. Take a look. Feel free to join in.

KT Lindsay said...
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