Self-portraiture is a singular form within the broad field of first-person film and video – not so much an account of the filmmaker’s intimate life as a representation of the artist at a given instant. With deep roots in the Western tradition of painting and literature, self-portraiture in the moving image can be considered to be a hybrid practice, not fitting into the traditional definition of documentary or fiction, as it breaks the boundaries of both genres.
The investigative and self-reflexive stance of the self-portrait raises questions about intimacy, the appearance and corporeality of the subject and, more importantly, the medium itself. Today the understanding and definition of this practice is being challenged by the emergence of new forms of self-portraiture brought about by digital media, such as the selfie phenomenon. Against this backdrop, this book reassesses the significance of the self-portrait in the moving image and new media by exploring a varied and international body of works.