Art blogger Tyler Green writes:
Once upon a time self-portraiture was an artistic staple. Self-portraits are some of the most famous, recognizable work by Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Courbet, Picasso, Beckmann, Warhol and hundreds of other artists. For the better part of the last few decades, self-portraits haven't been a part of contemporary artistic production. There's Chuck Close, there's Cathy Opie and after that the field thins. (The most common contemporary self-portraits are the distanced, filtered, Cindy Sherman/Nikki S. Lee/Matthew Barney type.)
Enter Facebook and Twitter, which have been where self-portraits go to live. While artists are increasingly disinterested in self-portraits, the rest of us are in love with them. At right is part of my Facebook friends lineup. It's got it all: Straightforward head shots, quirkiness, a picture of a tech geek with a satellite telescope in the background, legs, and look-how-casual-I-am. My Facebook pals are using their self-portraits to tell us something about them... which is not so different from what artists have done for hundreds of years. Picasso was reminding us that he's an artist and a worker. Courbet's self-portrait is image-as-marketing. Opie shares her journey from 1994's leathergirl to today's mom (and by so doing reminds us of changes in GLBT America).