Emily Knecht takes photos of herself pouting. But she’s not puckering her lips sensually, or posing for followers in a way that’s conventionally attractive. Knecht’s selfies aren’t of the promotional or confidence-building variety. They’re a running log of every time she’s cried in the past three years.
“At first it started as a reaction. A way to deal with difficult feelings,” Knecht, a professional photographer, told The Huffington Post. “Then it became documentation of a period of my life, and a period of my life turned into a series.”
Her work is currently on display at Innocnts gallery, where black-and-white tearful moments are displayed alongside full-color, post-shower cries. Although the pictures weren’t taken with her phone –- they were shot on heavier duty cameras –- they have the same offhand effect experienced when thumbing through selfies on Instagram. For dramatic effect, Knecht illuminates her face with a bright flash.
And because she shoots her selfies with a film camera, Knecht isn’t able to see what they look like until she develops the images.
“They’re meant to be honest and emotional depictions, and I find that selfies are often not,” Knecht said. “I think that the majority of selfies are taken to make oneself look and feel good -- a sexy pose, a purposeful gaze or a lip pucker. These images are much more raw -- you can often see blemishes on my face, they’re taken from straight on which isn’t always the most flattering angle.”
Knecht is one of many young, female artists using the medium of self-portraiture to illustrate and subvert the way we interact with social media. Her work recalls the zoomed-out selfie portraits of Petra Collins, and the feminist artist Molly Soda, who recently leaked her own nude portraits. Apparently, selfies are no longer just about narcissism and heavily filtered self-portrayals, but also about unedited, raw portrayals of the grittier side of life.