Recent Zones of Portraiture: The Selfie

Teresa Bruś


In the “age of the selfie” (Jerry Saltz), we gauge the self as active. This paper proposes to engage the selfie as a dominant and enlarging practice of assertion and performance of lived existence.  I align the selfie with the snapshot, making a point about their extraordinary cultural force and productivity determined by their distinctive economies and technical bases as well as cultural statuses.  An expression of our desire to be visible in the social world, the selfie, I argue, is a sub-genre of portraiture which exposes and “proliferates” our face as an activity promising interaction. In the “post-face” phase of our culture this performative face is a surface of the visual present, always in the making.

This article was submitted to the European Journal of Life Writing on May 24th 2016, and published on July 12th 2017.


Face, frontality, performative functions, selfie, self-portraiture, snapshot, digital images

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Copyright (c) 2017 Teresa Bruś

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European Journal of Life Writing - ISSN 1876-8156 - is an open access initiative supported by the VU University Library.