UMSL scholars discuss ‘selfies’ in St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Group selfie

Priscilla Block (center), executive director of St. Louis Art Works, takes a group selfie with her friends and family after receiving the 2014 UMSL College of Fine Arts and Communication Dean’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts. (Photo by August Jennewein)

What’s a selfie? If you don’t know, you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years. But most people have seen them, many have taken them and some are even obsessed with them.

Two University of Missouri–St. Louis scholars talked with St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Doug Moore about the selfie craze and what it really means in his May 13 article “Should selfies be taken seriously? Some think so.”

Selfies have been around for a long time, but the growth of technology has made it easier to quickly snap a photo and upload it to one of dozens of social media platforms for all to see.

“You can present a glorious life, a glorious relationship, the look of glorious parenting and you may or may not be living any of that,” Jennifer Siciliani, teaching professor of psychology at UMSL, told the Post-Dispatch. “We don’t have research on this yet, but there are people who are in the middle of studying it, looking at how people choose to present themselves.”

But no matter what the reasoning behind the selfie, some can be truly inspiring – one might even say works of art.

Dan Younger, a UMSL professor of art specializing in photography, takes a selfie.

Dan Younger, a photography professor at UMSL, told the Post-Dispatch it really depends on the intent.

But then again, you can never tell intent from a photograph, he said.

“As soon as I say this is art or this is not, there will be an argument about it,” Younger said of selfies. “I would let people decide for themselves. Is it a threat to the art of photography? I like that it’s out there and flung around.”


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