While the Kardophiles eagerly await Kim Kardashian Selfish the book from the Numero Uno K on the science behind humected, sleek selfies, Swiss-German photographer Diana Scheunemann has been quietly selfying for 15 years.
Since 1999, before the moi-shot became digital royalty, she has generously selfied every single day of her life. The partial result is BEHIND MY FACE: 1999-2013, an archival diary of 5,479 shots, from 1/1/1999 to 12/31/2013 black images et al. The black images she says: "stand for lost days, stolen camera, broken film, illnesses and corrupt or lost files." Yes, broken film, as the first 6 years were shot on analog.
What sets Scheunemann's images apart from the prairies of pore-defying selfies is that they are not simply made of mundane yet markedly convenient moments, they are shot on off days, crying days, sick days, dazed days. From Lake Malawi to her bed, the kitchen to Port Sudan. While sky diving, on a quasi-sinking boat she was sailing up the Mozambique Channel, and during an orgasm. Diana wrote a methodical diary as a kid and she now says BEHIND MY FACE, is simply am adult visual reprise of that, no captions needed. A joyous, sad, pretty, unpretty saga where she's actually delighted you "got to see her at the most inopportune of times." The project is all the more telling as Scheunemann is a fashion photographer, an industry that rarely finds peace in the quotidian. She is also the author of 4 books, among them Ambisexual and Love American Skin, has recently archived the first 15 years of her project on film and stills and plans to continue selfying every day of her life. And more. She has, in fact, already instructed her partner to shoot her on the day of her death. The current goal is to collect the images again in another 15 years and in the meanwhile exhibit the archive around the globe. And perhaps to sit on a fair-and-dare discussion panel with Ms. Kardashian, the definitive frank Instrument of I.