Week 4 Reflections
As one of the facilitators for this week, I posted a selfie if I was to ever set up an online dating profile. Despite how seriously I take the online sphere, I try not to take my profiles too seriously. That is, I attempt to signify who I am in playful terms that aren’t necessarily the normative standard. That has to do with my artistic practice, which I am trying to convey here. I am interested in photos that show what a person does rather than who they are. In other words, I am drawn to selfies that don’t show the entire face. My artistic practice is also focused on self-imagining, but hardly ever shows my face.
This image denotes a nude woman on a road at dusk through various signs in relation to each other. However, as we learn from Barthes, this is a superficial reading of any text/image. In the photo, she is alone on the road. It is unclear if she is taking the photo with a self-timer or if someone is behind the lens. (Does the distinction matter to signify a photo as a ‘selfie’? What are the boundaries?) She is bending over with her hair covering any parts of her body that might be flagged as inappropriate and removed on the platform (or perhaps she doesn’t want to show her naked body also). There is a tree on her left side and a wall of stones on her right. The curls of her hair are analogous to the leaves on the tree’s branches. Her skin tone and hair match the colors of the road at dusk. This signifies a strong relationship between her body and the landscape. We can read from this image that she might be a feminist? a landscape photographer? attempting to be different? The partial revealing of her body could also lead to several assumptions about her, her sexuality, and what she is trying to signal to prospective partners. Thinking with the aforementioned statement, what is the dominant reading of this image? What is the negotiated and/or oppositional reading? What codes are embedded in this image that reinforce/unsettle ideologies of the body? Are there conflicting meanings?How is this image still working within normative standards of selfie culture? Do you have more questions/answers about this type of image on a dating profile?
Since I have never set up a dating profile before I am uncertain of its codes and conventions. The more I think about this image, the more anxious I am that it would only serve to garner inappropriate messages rather than attract people who are interested in photography and these type of aesthetic modes of expression. This illustrates the importance of embodied networked knowledge — knowing a social network and its norms allows one to fit into it, or refuse to fit in, or inuit what specific codes and signs signify to that particular audience.
I welcome any discussion or critique of my reflections.