Selfie Reflexivity: Pictures of People Taking Photographs

  • Jens Ruchatz


Photographic practice has produced plenty of self-referential and self-reflexive pictures. The surface of the photograph, the medium’s temporality, or its fragmentary character—that is, the qualities of the photographic image—have frequently been made the subject of modernist photographic art and art photography. However, the act of taking photographs and the diverse photographic practices have rarely entered photographs. This seems to have radically changed with the advent of the selfie, though. Photographs of people taking selfies (or the “selfie scene”) have been produced as visual argument in order to denigrate the practitioners as narcissistic. Recently photos capturing selfie scenes have received more of a positive meaning when they figure as journalistic documents that symbolically mark the celebration of a public event or a celebrity, often including audience and fans in the background. This chapter addresses this new and seemingly ambiguous practice of taking photos of people taking photos, which includes the practice of the selfie itself, which inherently produces self-reflexive photographs insofar as every selfie (as well as a photographic self-portrait in a mirror or by remote shutter release) shows a person in the very moment of the decision to take his or her own picture.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jens Ruchatz
    • 1
  1. 1.Philipps-University MarburgMarburgGermany

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