When Kim Kardashian released her new photography book ‘Kim Kardashian West: Selfish’ last week it was ironic that any image taking was banned, including anyone wanting to take a selfie of themselves, at her book signing at Barnes & Noble, NY. ‘Selfish’ is a selection of some of the many selfies taken by Kardashian during the last few years and it seemed a little unfair that her fans were blocked from doing the very thing she was selling.
Well, a few people broke the rules.
New York Daily News reporter Reuven Blau managed to capture his selfie pic before being hustled away, read his full article here:
And a few fans snuck their phones out to grab a quick selfie too:
At the signing a few days later in LA the fans were allowed to use cameras and took their ‘Selfish’ selfies with great delight:
And Drew Millard from Vice managed to get his selfie with her:
Now the ‘Selfish’ selfies have gone even further with Lena Dunham posting on Instagram her unashamed selfie, imitating Kim’s front cover and announcing:
‘selfie with selfish #yeahiboughtit (I support experiments in female identity exploration/am a student of pop culture/will not be shamed)’
(No doubt this will spark more debate amongst the feminists about this one).
And she’s not the only one posting their posing with ‘Selfish’, here’s @dmacsai with his copy:
The Guardian’s review of ‘Selfish’ by Jonathan Jones berated her book for its revealing nature and called it a “Nail in the coffin for artistic photography”, with the author believing it signals the end for photography books as we know them:
Kim Kardashian has come not to praise the photography book, but to bury it. Her new book, Selfish, is the ultimate slap in the face for anyone who ever pointed a camera with high hopes of being the new Henri Cartier-Bresson… …The selfie marks the end of the age when people thought photographs could be refined works of art, and Selfish is the final gravemarker of that aesthetic delusion. Photography is information, pure and simple. We look at it in order to know things, and what eloquent work of reportage, or what artfully staged Turner prize photowork, will ever compete on a level with getting a closer look at Kim Kardashian’s bottom?
He assumes, quite wrongly, that photography books are purely meant for leaving on coffee tables (and I do wonder if he’s ever actually looked through the wealth of art photography books available in the Photographers Gallery or the Tate Modern) while the The Atlantic article ‘Work of Art: The Honest Industry of Kim Kardashian’s ‘Selfish’ ‘ by Megan Garber takes a polar opposite view, admiring the confidence Kardashian has in showing off her own body and calling her approach an honest and refreshing look at the entertainment industry.
Kim is, at this point, the unlikely embodiment of Duchamp’s urinal: In declaring herself, against all common sense, as art, she mocks and dares and provokes. She rejects what came before.
And with her candor about who she is and what it takes to make her that way, she might also, against all odds, move us forward.
The opposing opinions here could speak volumes about the authors gender. Is The Guardian’s writer showing a misogynistic side while The Atlantic writer supports feminism? They certainly both compare Kardashians work to great artists and photographers very differently, however it could simply be that Jonathan Jones did not embrace the landscape of post-modernism and conceptual art that occurred in force at the end of the last century in the same way as Megan Garber and is instead stuck in a Modernist past.
So will Kardashian’s next book take her photography one step further? Will she collect her fans images of them with her in a post post-modern realization and release those as a book too?