The media may tell us that the rise of the selfie has turned us all into shallow, narcissistic vapid excuses for people with, as one newspaper reported back in January over 17 million of them being uploaded every week. I’m sure the number has only gone up since then.
Museum Selfies have also become a thing- with Mar Dixon spearheading MuseumSelfie day with phenomenal results. There were detractors, of course, whose argument against said photographic self-portraits was essentially a rather petulant “But.. they aren’t enjoying the museum properly.” Ironically, some of these places have adopted the term for marketing plans, such as the Save Van Dyck campaign, which insisted on calling the self-portrait a selfie.
I’m sure the kids would describe this as “totes awks” -which I’m told is meant “really, really awkward.”
But calling painted self portraits “selfies” is so early 2014.
Now, the thing to do is make it look like statues are taking pictures of themselves. So, I decided to go out and have a bit of fun…
The pictures above were taken on a recent trip to the V&A (where I got to go inside Trajan’s Column). I have to stress that although I got fairly close to the statues, I did not ever touch them nor put them at risk. I would have hated for something like this to have happened…
The Statue Selfie (#StatueSelfie?) started in Ireland, with a Reddit user who told TIME that “The staff in that art gallery were giving me some strange looks.” Having done some myself, I can see why the originator of the form would have got strange looks – you have to get in very odd positions to have the picture come out selfie-like. The angles you put yourself in are a world away from the traditional point-and-click method of the standard tourist pic.
With my serious “I Work At A Museum” face on, the Statue Selfie thing did make me think about the way we interact with statues, the way we look at them and experience them. Taking a picture from the selfie angle can totally change everything about a statue (look at the Thetis selfie) or it can completely enhance the story behind the art (Narcissus, I’m looking at you here).
Compare the more traditional views of the sculptures below with their selfie’d image above.
I really want to get back to the Museum of Classical Archaeology in Cambridge a take some Statue Selfies there…