Selfies, our guilty pleasure. However much we tried to turn away from them, we always love when our cheeky selfie looks good.
They have become part of our generation, scroll down social media for a minute and you’ll find one, but where and whom did they come from?
Schiele and Velazquez
© Piers Allardyce 2017Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery,
Saatchi Gallery and Huawei teamed together to present you with ‘Selfie to Self-Expression’ that is held in the Saatchi Gallery till the 30th of May. This is the first exhibition to show the history of the selfie.
To answer your question, no it didn’t start anywhere near Kim Kardashian. It roots way back to the old masters, and it digs deeper than meets the eye. The exhibition celebrates that it can be a form of expression.
© Piers Allardyce 2017Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery,
Nigel Hurst, CEO Saatchi Gallery
“In many ways, the selfie represents the epitome of contemporary culture’s transition into a highly digitalised and technologically advanced age as mobile phone technology has caught up with the camera. We are thrilled to be collaborating with Huawei on From Selfie to Self-Expression. The exhibition will present a compelling insight into the history and creative potential of the selfie, while the #SaatchiSelfie competition provides a global platform for Self-Expression. Our commissioning of work by ten young British photographers completes the narrative and highlights the exciting potential of the very latest technology to encourage creativity.”
Seflies don’t just mean pictures taken on the front camera of your phone, there are many key artworks being showcased that allow you to interact. Artists that shall be displayed vary from Christopher Baker, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Juno Calypso, Tracey Emin, Van Gogh, Mohau Modisakeng, Rembrandt, Cindy Sherman, Gavin Turk and Velazquez.
Print52 x 102 cm
Edition of 5 + 2 AP
Image courtesy of the artist and
TJ Boulting Gallery
You no longer have to be embarrassed of your selfies after this, as you will see the beautiful and sublime to the mad, bad and dangerous.
The exhibition doesn’t only cater to the curious, but to those interested in technology as the emerging role of smartphones as an artistic medium of self-expression through the commissioning of ten exciting young British photographers to create new works using Huawei’s recently launched P10 dual lens smartphone co-engineered with Lecia, as part of their artistic practice. These photographs will go on display in a gallery dedicated to world-class smartphone photography.
The #SaatchiSelfie Competition
As part of the ‘From Selfie to Self-Expression’ exhibition Saatchi Gallery and Huawei joined forces to offer artists, photographers and enthusiasts around the globe a chance to show their most creative selfies internationally, and have their work exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery, as part of the competition #SaatchiSelfie.
The judging panel selected a shortlist of ten from the 14,000 selfies entered by the public. The overall winner of the #SaatchiSelfie Competition was announced at the show’s launch in London on 30th March 2017.
Dawn Woolley, #SaatchiSelfie competition winner
“I’m amazed and overwhelmed, it’s quite a shock. I’m obviously thrilled as this is very much about how we represent ourselves through photographs, and I think that’s what selfies are all about. They have a powerful potential and selfies should be used in art more. I look forward to that happening.”
To see the award winning selfie, take a trip down to Saatchi Gallery, and embrace your way of Self-Expression.
Ever think of the colour purple without thinking of Prince? Impossible. Seductive, erotic and hypnotising, Prince was the walking definition of this colour. The life and soul of Prince represents true artistry and individuality between 1958-2016. It has been said he “lived life like movie”, his head being a constant radio, forming melodies and rhythms – a procedure he used for the “one take” process of his music. He is an iconic symbol of a man who did not go by social norms, he played and performed the way he wanted to completely within his own vision. It seems as if he was obsessed with this controversial colour, making it his total theme for music and art as if he really did adopt it like his own. The newly released book by Mobeen Azhar ‘PRINCE Stories from the Purple Underground’ gives an ultimate pictorial tribute to the artist in the truest form of his life, evolution, career and death. For the first time we see key members of Prince’s ongoing legacy give a first-hand account of the artist in a light never seen before. Author of the piece Mobeen is a fanatic of Prince, even appearing on stage with the man himself, who evidently is the perfect passion and person for the making of the book.
This is a beautiful record of Princes life, it features photos all the way back to when he got his first record deal at 19 years old, to performing at Madison Square Garden decades later. The photographs are bold, powerful and heroic, helping us understand the real Prince on and off stage. It is an unbiased, yet honest portrayal of the artist, making the pages personal and sentimental to the reader. We witness how much of an inspiration he was to many, even teaching one guitarist to only love the way they play guitar and no one else, to fully embrace yourself (without being arrogant). These personal monologues prevent the Purple Underground book from being a cliche autobiography, making us hear the different voices and experiences from many who feature in the book. One story in particular comes to mind which mentions having to share a an awkward moment inside of a lift with him.
Left: Prince in Canada, December 1996. Top right: On stage during the Parade tour, 1986. Bottom right: Photoshoot at Kemps Ice Cream building. Minneapolis. 1997.
What comes to mind when imagining the colour purple? Perhaps a smoky jazz bar or even the only two flags in the world that contain this colour. Although it is seen upon as a colour of spiritual awareness in China it is somewhat a controversial tone, even to be seen as a negative, unlucky or a forbidden colour in some cultures. As a powerful member of the rainbow, it’s a colour that represents a strong level of power which is particularly used by royals or emperors. Considering it to be culturally controversial and neglected in some areas, Prince saw it as the ultimate colour of inspiration (as do some others) which could still quite be an unusual choice to make in the world today.
For this months theme of LOUCHE, we have been asking several musicians what they associate with the word louche musically. At Cent, we feel that the word louche is defined as something or someone who is laid back, relaxed and a little bit sultry, we asked the band Future Generations what top ten tracks they would associate with the word louche. Future Generations will be releasing a self-titled album on the 29th of July, you can find their website here, but in the meantime here are there top ten louche tracks and why they chose them:
Washed Out – New Theory
Ernest Green, the musician/producer behind Washed Out, has serotonin flowing through his veins. You know that anesthetic concoction doctors give you before surgery? Ernest Green mixes it with his coffee in the morning. Washed Out’s name and corresponding song titles (“Amor Fati” translates to “love of one’s fate”) invoke a consistent sense of optimistic determinism, as if to say “It’s all out of our control, but it’s cool.
Anderson Paak. – The Bird
I was listening to a best music of 2015 podcast last year, and one of the featured songs was “Suede” by NxWorries, which is a collaboration between Anderson Paak. and Knxwledge. We all really fuck with Knxwledge, who does production for Kendrick Lamar, so, I showed their 2015 mixtape to Mike and he, being the world’s foremost hip-hop historian, already knew it and turned me onto other Anderson Paak. stuff. “The Bird” is from Paak.’s “Malibu,” a mellow-jazzy banger.
Widowspeak – Stoned
This one always seems to find its way onto our playlist whenever we go out on the road. Ethereal vibe. Mike saw them on a boat once – chill.
Slum Village – Untitled
J Dilla has had monumental influence on Mike and Dylan and this song represents his ability to establish neck breaking grooves with effervescent harmonic structure. The way the keys float in and out of the progression while the strings glide over top of the heavy hitting drums and bass is the very thing about Slum Village and J Dilla that has established them as legends. Roll down the windows on a hot summer day, jam this song, and watch yourself get taken from reality for 3 short minutes.
Buffalo Springfield – For What It’s Worth
From the sleepy and reverbed whole-note guitar line to the whispering gang harmonies, “For What It’s Worth,” I’m pretty sure, started chilled, laidback music as we know it today. It’s a protest song masquerading as a friendly stoner’s lament. Disguising the message or theme of a song with a melody of opposing is something we like to do as well, and Stephen Still and co’s work is some of the earliest and effective examples of that technique in pop music.
Vampire Weekend – Hannah Hunt
This song rules. The greatest track on one of the best albums of the 21st century. The Wayne Gretzky of VW tracks.
Baio – Sister of Pearl
Speaking of Vampire Weekend, their bass player, Chris Baio, has done some seriously groovy solo work. For Sister of Pearl, Baio reached into the Vampire Weekend pantry of ingredients, pulled out plunking harpsichords and heady wordplay, threw in some breathy tenor vocals and a heavily compressed melodic bassline for personal spice and ended up with a 5 Star dish, best enjoyed poolside. There’s your extended food metaphor for you.
Active Bird Community – Pick Me Apart
Buddies from the music scene back at Fordham University. Played some basement shows with them, and now they’re killing it after college. These guys rock. Shout out, Rams and Pugsley’s Pizza.
Tame Impala – ‘Cause I’m a Man
“I think this is the chillest fucking song ever,” said Dylan, a statement immediately confirmed by the other four.
Bahamas – All the Time
It was really tough to choose the last song for this list. But, it basically came down to the task at hand: picking ten laidback summer tunes. And Bahamas’ “All the Time” is a melting popsicle of a song. It’s literally called “All the Time.” And the name of the band is Bahamas! And there are only, like ten lines in the whole song. And one of those lines is “I put work in front of my girl/there’s something wrong with that.” God. S’chill.
Bruce Springsteen – Jersey Girl; Sports – You Are the Right One; Steve Miller Band – Fly Like an Eagle; Phoenix – Love Like a Sunset Pt. 1 & 2; America – Ventura Highway; Guru – Coast Modern; Mac Demarco – No Other Heart
A new exhibition at the National Portrait gallery celebrates the work of William Eggleston. Known by many as the ‘Godfather of Colour Photography’ his work is both insightful and fun. That said, it is the film he used that steals the show.
One subject Eggleston can’t seem to escape in his work, is colour itself. The use of the early colour film Kodachrome means certain hues are slightly saturated. His fascination with the film and eye for detail create the perfect showcase for the American dream of the day. A film that intensifies red and blue lends itself incredibly well to documenting an epoch symbolised by gas stations lit with neon and omnipresent golden arches. Though Eggleston was not an early adopter of Kodachrome (the film was first developed in 1935 by Eastman Kodak Company) he was one of the earliest people to master it and to pioneer it’s popularity. The wonder this film created, combined with it’s burgeoning accessibility took colour photography into both the fine art world and the homes of normal people simultaneously. In fact, Kodachrome was so adored, in 1973 Paul Simon even wrote a song in it’s honour…
Though not the saccharine portrayal that an ad company might come up with to sell the american dream, his work certainly seems celebratory of modernity and the context of America is unmistakable. He shows us popular culture at the time, not through it’s superstars or rock n roll sensations, but once it has filtered down to the very real, and much more humble masses of the deep south. Many of his photographs taken in the mid-seventies of the general public show slightly out-dated fashions that would be more classically associated with the 1960s and even late ‘50s. This just emphasises the concept that Eggleston was shooting real people with real lives in an age when fashion and culture was not a high turn over industry founded instant gratification.
Untitled (Sumner, Mississippi, Cassidy Bayou in Background), 1971
Though what really draws people to Eggleston’s work is the beauty he finds (or creates) in the banal day-to-day existence of his subjects, it does also hold a multi-dimensional aspect if viewed through the filter of class commentary. Though this does seem rather an unconscious element and perhaps one more relevant in hindsight. Predominantly, his work is an aesthetically enthralling ode to the colourful era in which he and his subjects inhabit.
Untitled 1974 (Karen Chatham and Lesa Aldridge)
While looking at Eggleston’s work it is hard to ignore an overwhelming sense of worship to the work pre-Raphaelite brotherhood and their followers, particularly when examining the portraits he creates of the women he knows. While some are a slight doth of the cap to the era, others seem to be a tribute to actual paintings. His photograph Untitled 1974 which features Karen Chatham and the artist’s cousin, Lesa Aldridge is highly reminiscent of Wallis’ ‘Chatterton’. The electric blue folds in the material on her dress, the auburn tones in Chatham’s hair, the light source positioned in so as it implies a sort of other worldly, divinity (though significantly more divine in Wallis’ painting, Eggleston does at least position the source of the fluorescent glow in the same place). Similarly in Eggleston’s portrait of Marcia Hare taken in 1975, he floral dress, long flowing hair, open mouth and tilted, gaunt face bares a striking resemblance to the composition and palette of Millais’ ‘Ophelia’.
Untitled 1975 (Marcia Hare)
Eggleston’s visual ethos does not always fits with the code of the pre-Raphaelite brotherhood, though it could be said that one of their doctrines was followed by Eggleston, only in a very contemporary sense; ‘to study nature attentively, so as to know how to express them’. Though Eggleston’s nature was a very different one to the likes of Millais et al, his keen observation and ability to focus in and magnify a fleeting, human moment gives his work an unusual majesty that will no doubt lead to his work being studied by art and photography students for centuries to come.
William Eggleston Portraits will run until 23 October 2016 at London’s National Portrait Gallery.