53 thoughts on “The Art History of the Selfie | The Art Assignment | PBS Digital Studios”

  1. Great, now I have a need to take my own photo. I was hoping for an assignment with this one, but it is none the less a great episode.

  2. While I have kind of fallen out of touch with the art assignments, these type of The Art Assignment videos I deeply enjoy! Thank you so much for this great perspective on art in my otherwise highly technical live and non-art appreciative environment!

  3. this notification interrupted me taking selfies because I got a new haircut and I was trying out fringe styles

  4. It isn't always easy to find people willing to pose. Selfies will always be popular because they are practical. No one else is always with one besides one's self.

  5. Thanks for this! I've been shooting selfies for decades. I actually gave away 100 selfie sticks to YouTubers at Vidcon 2013, and told the guy who invented a certain one that he should get a booth. I think he sold about 3,000. I'm the Johnny Appleseed of Selfie sticks, though they weren't called that until 2014.

  6. I think the largest difference between the photos you've shown and the modern selfie is the amount of thought that went into their creation. Those artists put considerable thought into taking a single photo, as opposed to modern selfies where one can mindlessly snap 100 photos in a minuet.

  7. Who says doing something "well" is the only way of doing something that makes it worthwhile, or worth in general? There is plenty of art I really respect that plays with the societal construction of skill and worth. I love selfies that are lazy, badly lit, blurry, dirty, and otherwise "not good" in addition to all the other types of selfies because a selfie is just like a portrait taken by someone else but instead of a being both a representation of the subject and the photographer, the photographer comes into being both behind and in front of the camera. There is a unique glimpse into the soul and life of the creators of selfies and I find them deeply emotional and poignant and intimate. As an actor, my art has to do with representing oneself for others, curating an image for someone else to see and that is a terrifying moment of departure, art-wise. The vulnerability of a selfie is something that I don't think a lot of people have a grasp on because they are so common. However, I would suggest that selfies are very revealing, in ways that people who take selfies don't quite even realize themselves. I could gaze at selfies, "good" and "bad", all day.

  8. Very intriguing and interesting way to explain the history behind such a plain and shallow form of photography

  9. How interesting. I think this was a thoughtful and wide, if not too brief, exploration in an art form that anyone can do.

  10. I'll tell you the exact motivation for most selfies, ' Aaayooo. Imma be lookin liit af. Post this on the gran and get a hundred likes. Ayyyeee.'

  11. Thank you for this. I've done self-portraiture for the majority of my photographic work, and it's difficult to explain to people that it isn't "just a selfie". It sometimes gets a little disheartening hearing that I'm just another narcissistic millennial hellbent on taking selfies.

  12. I used to hate selfies but i read a time lightbox article that convinced me otherwise. Can't seem to find it, it went along the lines of selfies being this hypercommunication of saying quickly where you are , how you are feeling, and being more part of -documenting a concert you just watched or who you are with. It's a real democratization of taking and distribution of image, and it's not always necessarily aesthetic, but important and helpful anyway for photography-image as language as a whole. Loved the barrage of artistic precedents!! Super creative and intimate :0 🙂

  13. I'm interested in art but an idiot. Does anyone have a recommendations for other places to go to become less of an idiot? Thanks

  14. I really enjoyed this and I understand your focus on the past century/photographic selfies, but I have been thinking a lot about the nature of self-portraits from even earlier, especially in relation to female artists trying to compete in a male-dominated art world in the Renaissance and Baroque periods. So I was hoping you would be tracing throughout a deeper history of art. A great discussion here all the same!

  15. You also talked about the astounding quality of the technology we hold in our pockets – have you considered making a video discussing how this has affected the nature and definition of art? I would be really interested to hear your take!

  16. Yep love the note at the end of the video to keep those selfies tasteful. Lord knows we all have our process work of billions of untasteful ones.

  17. I'm the kind of person that forgets photography as been around for quite a while. For some reason I see it has a new thing every time. Can't explain.

  18. I cannot help but feel that the reason that we dismiss selfies so easily as vain and superficial is that they are seen as the domain of young women, whose work and interests are always easyly dismissed.

  19. Anastasia (yes, that Anastasia) took this selfie in 1914


  20. I recently saw a bunch of works by Nan Goldin, including the Ballad of Sexual Dependency, and I really liked this quote by her: "There is a popular notion that the photographer is by nature a voyeur, the last one invited to the party. But I'm not crashing; this is my party. This is my family, my history."

  21. On the theme of selfies and art I thought of Noah Kalina's APicture of Himself Everyday, undoubtedly a clever and moving way of using selfies to narrate the passage of time.

  22. Before even watching, I'm posting my gut reaction to this title. A selfie is not art for the same reason your driver's license photo isn't art. You're torturing the term. I'll watch this later today, after I paint.

  23. Hey there! Would you ever consider doing a case for Banksy? My love for art is growing more and more with The Art Assignment and I think it would be a really interesting video to watch 🙂

  24. Thank you for providing several examples of photographic self-portraits and selfies as well as explicitly acknowledging the limitations of this short video as being a brief introduction to Western examples of these types of images. I loved seeing how these images could be as simple as technical experimentation or as complex as intersectionality.

  25. The opening sequence in the TV show selfie is worth a watch. It shows that selfie's have been around for awhile now.

  26. the invention of photography was the kicking in of the Constant Self-recording Mode. It eventually took the form of selfies with the handphone camera, a prosthesis allowing constant recording. And thanks for this great video, will use it in classes.


  27. This is beautiful and inspiring. I do a lot of self-portraits for a living and this drives me to improve.

  28. That's a brilliant video!!! I found myself googling every single one of the photographers to see what they did…. I had no interest in art before but this series of video opened my mind!!! Thank you so much for doing such an amazing job!!.❤❤❤

  29. I am the selfie king.


  30. Wonderful video presentation. I don't know why I paint selfies without me in them although I thoroughly enjoy the story process that develops from photo to canvas.

  31. Um, 1863? More like 1840s. Why would you say 1863?! I've been enjoying your channel, but it's really disappointing that you seem to be treating the history of clothing as if it's so unimportant that you can just make up totally inaccurate dates for fashion because it's not even worth bothering to look up.

    Also, wow, you really need to consider including some trigger warnings. I really wasn't expecting blood and self-harm, and now I might throw up, but I guess this is one way for you to try to be edgy? It's just really disappointing.

    this is so on point, I hate when people disregard how pretentious it is to try and dictate who gets to use technology to make art and who gets validation in human documentation. We all (or at least many of us) want to see ourselves and be seen in some way, and we shouldn’t tell others they can’t be artists just bc they’re not traditionally trained or whatever.

  33. This is the 1st video in this series that I disagree with. I think today's selfies by non-"artists" totally can be artistic, just as mass-produced art can have merit. But I think the aim and goal of artist's self-portraits is generally something other than self-aggrandizement, whereas most social-media selfies today are for self-aggrandizement and express a narrow range/scope of ideas and concepts- "look how bootylicious/cool/popular/give no fucks I am" or, "Look at me in this cool place"; The settings and poses tend to follow set trends (when's the last time you saw a duck-lips in recent months?) and evoke a narrow range of emotions and responses- thumbs up, thumbs down, heart, and various other feelings that can be distilled into an emoji. They don't make us think, they don't make us feel deeply, they don't evoke. If they do, then they are art. I should mention, that selfies are a deep and rich form of expression for me and I use them as a form of autobiography, a way to know and understand myself better, a kind of bio-feedback, a way to practice self-love and self-acceptance, which I find challenging, and a way to contribute to increasing representation of faces and bodies that are not conventionally attractive out into the world.

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