ARTD2038 Introduction to Visual Culture

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1ARTD2038Introduction to Visual Culture27253449Shao-Chi, WuSelf-expression-From Self-portrait to Selfie
2ContentHistory of self-portrait.................................p.3Contemporary Portrait Photographs.....p.4The Rise of Selfie................................................p.5Filtered Reality..................................................p.6Selfies on Social Media..................................p.7Controversies....................................................p.8Funeral SelfieNude SelfieCatfishingJoan CornellàConclusion........................................................p.10Bibliography.....................................................p.11
3History of self-portraitSelf-portraiture has a long history in portrait art. It was a form for artists to create their own image in awide variation. Self-portraits, for artists of the modern era, are name cards to showcase their charactersand spirits, which were usually regarded to be motivated by commercial and self-promotional purpose.Therefore, self-portraits in a way were also infused with emotional elements.One of the oldest and an iconic self-portraiture is the “Self-portrait in A Convex Mirror”, which was createdby the Italian artist Parmigianino in approximately 1524 (Rettberg 2014). The artist used oil paints andpainted the reflection of his portrait showing in a convex mirror from a barber shop, instead of painting theactual subject of him. Parmigianino painted this art work on a hollow side of a wooden ball, to imitate thecurve of the convex mirror. Due to the distortion of the convex mirror, he painted the hand that he placedin the foreground in a larger proportion. Although the “hero” of this work is the painter himself, the focalpoint that grabs the audience’s attention would be the protruded hand (Mirzeoff, 2015).According to Leonardo Da Vinci, “a painter is supposed to be like a mirror, which is transformed into asmany colours as are placed before it, and in doing this, he will seem to be a second nature” (Bambach et.al., 2003). In the piece, Parmigianino looked directly and firmly to the audience. The reflection of the con-vex mirror was how Parmigianino saw himself; as an ambitious and confident 21 years old artist. Nowadays,human adapt digital devices and social media to observe and take records about fractions of daily life. Justlike the convex mirror and oil paints to Parmigianino, technologies reflect a version of who we see we are.The “Self-portrait in A Convex Mirror” was donated to Pope Clement VII afterwards (Viola, 2007). This indi-cates that the work of portraits and self-portraits are for sharing. To a certain extent, this as well establishedthe concept of selfie is for phatic communion and to be sociable.Figure 1: Self-portrait in a Convex Mirror (Parmigianino, 1524)
4Contemporary Portrait PhotographsSelf-portraits were limited to affluent and powerful group in the modern era (Mirzeoff, 2015). In 1839, withthe invention of photography, this has replaced portrait oil painting considerably, which is a new genera-tion of self-portrait in visual culture (ibid). The development on creating affordable portrait photographshas influenced the portrait art. In addition, the decrease of volatility of self-portrait has rapidly tackleddown to the mass. This results into the emergence of multiple legendary photographers in the 20th century.Cecil Beaton (1904-1980) is one of the most prestigious British Portrait Photographers of the 20th century.His contribution to the portrait photography field has flown over 5 decades, and his work has influencedmultiple contemporary photographers such as David Bailey and Mario Testino (National Portrait Gallery,2016). The sitters of Beaton’s portrait photographs catered for various fields of celebrities, from world lead-ers to film stars. Beaton devoted himself as a fashion photographer and had a tight connection with thefashion magazine Vogue (Davies, 2010). He had created an array of renowned celebrity portraits, includingTwiggy, Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn (National Portrait Gallery, 2016).Beaton has a distinctive and unique image of his work being elegant but glamourous and decorative. Hehas been described having “brutally honest” opinion when taking photographs, since Beaton observed hissubjects deeply meanwhile holding a critical point of view (Lindsey, 2014). Although being harsh, that wasbecause Beaton was always prepared to capture the best moment of his subjects. A portrait can never beflawless, however, putting endeavour on the shooting angle, lighting fusing with emotions, it can minimisethe drawbacks, and create a coherent overview. The editor of Portraits and Profiles Hugo Vickers statedthat “Beaton observed faults and then worked to eliminate them” (ibid). Beaton was sophisticated thathe could convey the message his subjects were attempted to demonstrate through his photographs, anduttered the outfits on his models at the same time. Therefore the characters Beaton had can always lift hiswork up.Figure 2: Marilyn Monroe (Beaton, 1956)Figure 3: Twiggy (Beaton, 1967)
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