The Pope does it, Obama does it and Tim Peake and Tim Koprah – two astronauts making repairs on the outside of the International Space station – have done it. So it’s safe to say that selfies are a phenomenon that have transformed popular culture and defined our cultural moment.
And although selfies may have reached their peak (Ellen Degeneres took the most retweeted selfie at the 2014 Oscars), their existence in fact predates the widespread use of the modern term: Robert Cornelius, a pioneer in early photography, took the first selfie in 1839.
Today, pop psychology has a lot to say about selfies. Everyday Sociology has reported that selfies are a way for us to project our identities onto others: “The more pictures you post of yourself promoting a certain identity – buff, sexy, adventurous, studious, funny, daring, etc.– the more likely it is that others will endorse this identity of you.” The photos have also been credited with damaging relationships by reducing intimacy among friends and partners.
But New York-based illustrator Zola Lovette would disagree. She ratifies the otherside of pop-psych opinion, which says that selfies are all about context: “If you’re using it as a tool to document feeling good about yourself and you’re just taking mementos of living a great life, that’s fine,” says Dr. Josie Howard, on Refinery29.
Lovette’s collection of selfies titled “Take some selfies and love yourself girl” celebrates self-photography. Crafted in bold bubble-gum colours, the young artists illustrates women of curvier body types in various states of dress with their mobile phones up taking selfies.
“I'm a bod-positive, bod-empowerment, self-love liberal feminist who's is striving to change girls views of themselves through my art,” reads Zola Lovette’s Deviantart page. “I show a lot of body to encourage girls to fall in love with themselves and to also combat those who take part it slut-shaming judgement.”