As the "VizBib" editor of the journal Visual Communication Quarterly, I come across a lot of interesting articles on different topics related to the culture of photography. I've compiles a series of articles on the phenomenon of "selfies" that may be of interest to researchers.
Selfies and the history of self-portrait photography, Kandice Rawlings, November 21, 2013. Online, oup.com/2013/11/selfies-history-self-portrait-photography/
In this insightful overview of the history of self-portrait photography the author traces the phenomenon of the “selfie” to Louis Daguerre in the 1830s. The article notes that in the mid-19th century, 95 percent of photographs made were portraits. The author explains how self-portraits fall into two categories: the photographer poses with the camera or photographs and the self-portrait as a fine art.
Selfie Nation, Alisha Tillery, Essence, September 2014, Vol. 45 (5), p. 142.
This article focuses on the psychological effects of selfies taken by African-American women in terms of self-esteem. The author cites psychologist Karen Streeter’s research on how selfies have become a cultural norm in the American-American community as a response to the negative public perception. Many African-American women find taking selfies, the research claims, provide them with a chance to express self-love and create supportive communities.
What People Learn About You From Your Selfies, Tessa Bereson, Time, 30 July 2014, p. 1.
Recent studies show how selfies, images people make of themselves and later post to social media sites, affect how they are perceived in person. The article focuses on findings from a York University study in which the facial features of more than 1,000 subjects were analyzed and then compared to viewer perceptions. In the study, researchers developed a statistical model used to predict a viewer's first impression of how a person based of the facial expression in a selfie.
Face it: The Impact of Gender on Social Media Images, Jessica Rose, Susan Mackey-Kallis, Len Shyles, Kelly Barry, Danielle Biagini, Colleen Hart, and Lauren Jack, Communication Quarterly, 2012, Vol. 60 (5), pp. 588-607.
This article focuses on assessing gender stereotypes present in Facebook images. The researchers found that images of men tended to depict them as active and independent, while the prominent features of female images concerned attractiveness and dependence. The authors found that Facebook images allow users to virtually manage how others will perceive them in terms of unwritten social and cultural rules and norms.
Cultural influences on Facebook photographs, Chih-Mao Huang and Denise Park, International Journal of Psychology, 2013, Vol. 48 (3), pp. 334–343.
This study examines the cultural differences between East Asian and Western Facebook users in terms of self-presentation of profile photographs. The researchers found that East Asians living in Hong Kong, Singapore were more likely to include a context in their profile photographs, while Americans focused on facial expressions with less background context. The findings in this study support previous research suggesting notable cultural differences between context-inclusive styles versus object-focused styles for East Asian and American Facebook users.
Woman hurt while taking photo with bison. Why can't people resist selfies?, Jessica Mendoza, Christian Science Monitor, 2015, July 26.
This article reports on the National Park Services’ desire to stop tourists from taking “selfie” photographs with park wildlife, especially bison. Recently, a bison attacked a woman at Yellow Stone National Park as she was making a self-portrait or selfie. The article cites research from Zlatan Krizan, an associate professor of psychology at Iowa State University, arguing that since the introduction of social media people are more willing to take risks to make images of themselves in unusual location in order to gain attention.
Russian Police Launch ‘Safe Selfies’ Campaign to Save You From Yourself, Olivia Waxman, Time, July 7, 2015. Online, http://time.com/3948326/russian-police-safe-selfie-campaign
The author reports on how an increasing number of people in Russia have been killed or injured while taking “selfies.” Russian police have initiated a campaign using illustrations similar to those found in airline safety cards to inform citizens of the dangers of taking self-portraits on railroad tracks, holding guns, or balancing on rooftops.
A London College Is Offering a Course on Taking the Perfect Selfie, Samantha Grossman, Time, January 5, 2015. Online, http://time.com/3653821/college-class-perfect-selfie
This article reports on how a London-based adult-education college is offering a course featuring the art of self-portraiture or “selfie” photography. Despite the appearance of promulgating self-aggrandizement and narcissism through photography the author also notes that the course provides students with instruction in the basic principles of photography.