Selfies—we all make fun of them, we all take them. (When’s the last time you set your camera on a tripod and used the timer? For that matter, when’s the last time you used a real camera, not your phone?) Selfies aren’t going away. At least, that was the bet placed by the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) when it enshrined the word in August, and now the (highly estimated) 17,000-percent jump in usage of the word just since November 2012 has earned it the honor of Word of the Year for 2013.
Richard Avedon is turning over in his perfectly composed grave.
What does this mean for the future of photography? The medium was never the hotbed of self-portraiture that painting historically has been, but here’s how one South African newspaper re-imagined some famous photographs—of Jackie Onassis, Winston Churchill, and the like—as selfies for an an ad campaign. (Shown above. Tagline: “You Can’t Get Any Closer to the News.”)
The first prominent exhibition of selfies (The National #Selfie Portrait Gallery) was recently held in London. Check with us in 20 years to see if the photography galleries are full of awkward arms and wide-angle schnozzes.
Hat tip to Jennifer Komar Olivarez, curator of Decorative Arts, Textiles, and Sculpture, for the news.