In a paper about selfies, Weng Marc Lim argues that the ‘selfie’ is more than merely “a photograph that one has knowingly taken of oneself using some form of technology”, and continues to define the ‘selfie’ as “a self-expressive photograph featuring the photographer as the primary individual in relation to any secondary products in the background that is consciously created, modified and shared with others to varying degrees, conditional on the dynamic interaction between the personal and situational factors present and facilitated by technology.” (Lim, 2016) With this definition, Lim aims to communicate that selfies are also shaped by interactions between personal and situational factors, and through various relationships. Think for instance of the relationship between the photographer and his or her audience, or of think of the relationship between the photographer and the technology he or she is using.

Selfies have been studied from different perspectives, with different approaches, and by various disciplines. Communications theorists, for instance, have attempted to discover what selfies might communicate about cultural values, ethics and politics (Senft & Baym, 2015). Other researchers have engaged with the manner in which the selfie might change “the tourist gaze” (Dinhopl & Gretzel, 2016) and how individuals might use selfies to communicate something about their health (Tembeck, 2016).


Dinhopl, A., & Gretzel, U. (2016). Selfie-taking as touristic looking. Annals of Tourism Research, 57, 126–139.

Lim, W. M. (2016). Understanding the selfie phenomenon: current insights and future research directions. European Journal of Marketing, 50(9/10), 1773–1788.

Senft, T. M., & Baym, N. K. (2015). What Does the Selfie Say? Investigating a Global Phenomenon. International Journal of Communication, 1588–1606.

Tembeck, T. (2016). Selfies of Ill Health: Online Autopathographic Photography and the Dramaturgy of the Everyday. Social Media + Society, 2(1).