237.130_A2_W7_TASK 3_ Debate in action

The representation of identity through photography.

This is important as it is a key part of us, it makes us different and unique to our own. Representing and understanding who we are is key to living a fulfilling life. Through photography identity has been explored, whether it be race, sex, gender, or class. Photography as the most powerful medium has been significant to the communication and awareness of identity on a global scale.

kim-kardashian-selfie-book-cover-01Kardashian, Kim. Selfish. Digital image. All The Right. N.p., 2014. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.


Man Ray. Marcel Duchamp as Rrose Sèlavy. Digital image. Philadelphia Museum of Art. N.p., 1920. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.

I will refer to Kim Kardashian’s Selfish book cover as a visual text as well as Man Ray’s Duchamp as Rrose Sèlavy. Kardashian’s book cover represents the modern day selfie, in contrast, Man Ray’s self-portrait of Duchamp reflects back on the historical origin of the selfie – the self-portrait. Both these images present sexuality, gender, race, and other aspects of identity in them.

Critical Media Project talks about social construction, ideology in regards to identity, as well as identity within the media.

  • Mirzoeff’s How to See The World’s book – Chapter 1, How to See Yourself.

Mirzoeff highlights ideas about “the imperial self”, covering the history from the self-portrait to the contemporary selfie. He touches base on the hierarchy associated with traditional portraits and how we depict ourselves, imposing gender, race, ethnicity, sex and class is all an act. Mirzoeff also highlights how the artist was often the hero as an intermediary but now the selfie cuts that out, eliminating the hero.

Urbanski links the relationship of traditional self-portraiture to today’s selfie, she highlights the choreographing, distortion and subject fluidity of the selfie. The curator is now the subject. In retrospect to body language and choreographing, the modern day poses we see aren’t all that different from the historical poses seen on statues and in paintings. For example, we still us the head tilt when being flirtatious.


Works cited



Mirzoeff, Nicholas. “Introduction”. How to See the World. London: Pelican. 2015.


237.130_A2_W7_TASK 3_ Debate in action

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