Selfies, Psychology, and Art

A few more art news stories have caught my eye this week. Although I really wasn't prepared for the first news story. Selfies Are An Art. Selfies? When I first signed up as an artist on Fine Art America, I was mortified that they asked my to provide a headshot photo. I did eventually, but only after the offending photo had spent three weeks processing within PhotoShop.

I'm not even sure why people feel compelled to take multiple selfies each day and post them online. Recent studies have identified four groups of people who as far as I can tell, and me not being a psychologist, are prone to annoy us with their various facial expressions, and poke us with their selfie sticks.

Narcissism: Extreme self-centeredness and a grandiose view of oneself. Narcissists have an excessive need to be admired by others and have a sense of entitlement. They’re likely to agree with statements like "I’m more capable than most people" and "I will usually show off if I get the chance". We all meet these people everyday.

These are the people who don't mind shouting in the cinema, clearly they also think that they are far more talented than a whole feature full of A grade celebrities who have been honing their craft for years. To be fair though, I've had the misfortune of meeting a few A grade celebrities, and no names mentioned, a small majority of them fit in the narcissistic group quite well.

Psychopathy: Impulsivity and lack of empathy. Those high in psychopathy are likely to agree with statements like "Payback needs to be quick and nasty". Yes, we can all agree that we've met some people who don't actually need labelling "Psychopath", you know immediately. You just know.

Machiavellianism: Manipulative-ness without regard for others’ needs. Those high on this trait tend to have little concern about morals. Oh life yes, I've met a few of these overly career obsessed people as well. Have you ever tried to get on the London Underground at rush hour. Those are these.

Self-objectification: This is a tendency to view your body as an object based on its sexual worth. Those high in self-objectification tend to see themselves in terms of their physical appearance and base their self-worth on their appearance. All I can say is that these are generally the people who are probably high maintenance. These to me are the classic, I'm going to be famous for something after I've been on a reality TV show kind of people. Yes, we've met them too.

So what did the results of this in depth research say? Well, before you start accusing all your selfie-posting Facebook friends of being self-obsessed narcissists and psychopaths, you need to realise that the correlations whilst statistically significant were relatively small. Also, the sample demographic chosen to carry out the study didn't include women.

My take on this? Well I could have probably told you, although possibly not named the groups they belong within, that generally people who insist on carrying a selfie stick and stand in front of you taking a selfie while the building behind is burning down, all belong in a special category. "Tools".

Now what worries me more than this is that "Selfiemania" is starting to appear in art galleries. The supposed art form has reached all new heights of worrying in a museum in Manila by the name of Art in Island. Its speciality is the selfie. Paintings you can touch, step inside, and photo opportunities abound with its 3D reproductions of famous paintings that offer a selfie lover the opportunity to pose with various facial expressions and then grace us with their undeniable beauty on Facebook.

At the Prado in Madrid, all photography is banned. Reach for a camera and guards leap out of nowhere to remind you that this is not going to be a Kodak moment. Maybe this is what we need in crowded places. Anti Selfie Police. No matter what, I can't bring myself to see the selfie as an art form. Unless it's a photo of Connie Britton from Friday Night Lights.

Do "Selfies" and their respective sticks annoy you? What was the worst situation you have ever been in, when someone decided to hold everything up in order to have a selfie moment?

Morning Coffee by M.A. Uploaded to Fine Art America, and Zazzle today!



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