Decoding selfies

Decoding selfies


The word ‘selfie’ was declared as the ‘word of the year’ by the Oxford
Dictionary in 2013, owing to the popularity it had gained in the everyday parlance among people, spread across continents. In the last two to three years, the obsession for posing, pouting and photographing oneself has grown manifold.

The social media feeds are a testament of this word’s growing popularity, which, many of us think, is a gift of modern world. However, introducing us to the history of self portraiture and the wonderful world of selfies will be a workshop by photographer and filmmaker Parthiv Shah.

“Over the past decade, the phenomenon has emerged as one of the top trends in an image crazed world, being appropriated by the common masses, celebrities and politicians alike. The ‘age of selfie’ as it has come to be known, might be the result of unprecedented changes in technology and the rise of social media, but it owes tremendously to the old-age genre of self-portrait,” says Shah.

“Historically, self portraiture evolved as a thoughtful process, which was about an artist’s state of mind and his state of being. Selfies are for quick consumption and dissemination. So much so that they glorify or show off some moments in our life like meeting celebrities or eating at fancy restaurants,” he adds.

Titled ‘Self Portrait to Selfie: Redefining Image Making’, the day-long workshop, which is part of the one-year-long photography festival ‘Habitat Photosphere’ will address questions like — How has technology fast-forwarded the selfie phenomenon? Or what is the best way of taking selfies?

“The aim of the workshop is to discuss what are we projecting ourselves as, through these selfies. I would want people to understand how we can take selfies which go beyond a personal picture,” he tells Metrolife.

“The selfie should throw light on a unique, little known aspect of our personalities, and only then we can raise it to the level of art,” he says.

Shah will also talk about how to take better selfies and how to contexualise the image, so that people read a story in the image. “It’s about making selfies — which are now the hot trend — a part of mainstream photographic discourse,” he says.

“So through a slide show and some exercises, I will discuss self-portraits starting from the Renaissance period to modern times with images of people taken by photographers like Raghu Rai, myself and others,” he adds.

The workshop will be held at the Experimental Arts Gallery, India Habitat
Centre on July 16. The fee for participation is Rs 800 for non-members and Rs 500 for students, senior citizens and IHC members.

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