It’s Friday night.
Giddy chatter and the tapping of high heels fill the air.
A group of friends huddle together to pose for what has become more than a fad and what some may call a defining feature of the millennial generation: the selfie.
From the rise of the Internet to smartphones to social media, this generation has never known a world without the luxury of modern technology. In honor of the movement, the Photo Center Northwest presents an exhibit that examines “the selfie” and transforms it into an interactive experience.
Titled “Me and My Selfie,” the exhibit exemplifies selfie culture in its most true form. Several months in the making, the gallery showcases walls cluttered with tablets and smart devices–each containing a slideshow of selfies that were taken from the open submissions.
“I feel like the way that social media is going, it’s just another way for people connect and share moments,” Julianne Duncan, an administrative associate of PCNW, said. “It’s second nature.”
Roaming through the exhibit, guests are encouraged to get up close and personal with the display. Clusters of people gather around one of the devices, almost mirroring the actions of taking a selfie.
Each phone or tablet contained an array of selfies of all nature: the “bathroom selfie,” the “group selfie,” the “I’m-so-ugly-please-compliment-me-in-the-comments-section selfie” and so on.
A timeline of the digital self-portrait’s journey and transformation is presented alongside the exhibit.
In the back, guests will find a backdrop, a selfie stick and an Instax camera where they’re invited to pose for their own selfie. Once the photo is developed, it can be taken as a souvenir or taped up on the wall to continue the visual dialogue.
“Me and My Selfie” explores two main themes: self-portrayal and self-documentation.
The exhibit not only characterizes a significant part of pop-culture, it also encourages and evokes a conversation on the way society sees and presents itself.
Lining the white walls, quotes are plastered in bold singularity. A daring and exciting visual experience, this part of the exhibit communicates the importance of documentation and its role in everyday life.
The PCNW adopts an inclusive and interactive method of display. Wandering around the exhibit, guests are immersed in the selfie phenomenon.
“Anyone is able to be part of our ongoing media display, it’s constantly going on. All you have to do is post a selfie to Instagram or Twitter and use the hashtag #selfie_pcnw, then people who come into the exhibit can see your face,” Duncan said.
The exhibit stares into the faces of society and captures the insecurity, the ego, the confidence–everything that describes what it means to take a selfie. A thought-provoking display of human nature, “Me and My Selfie” is an exhibit that should not be missed. “Anyone can use our facilities; we’re such a unique space. We want anyone and everybody to be connected to the Photo Center,” Duncan said.
“Me and My Selfie” reminds people just how fast life can pass them by, and more importantly, how crucial it is to stop and reflect on who they were, who they are as well as who they want to be.
Open six days a week until Oct. 31, the exhibit is free to the public.
Hours: Monday-Thursday 12 p.m.-9 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday 12 p.m.-6 p.m.