Stop Freaking Out About Funeral Selfies / Hyperallergic

DUCK LIPS funeral selfie

DUCK LIPS funeral selfie

CHICAGO — We haven’t figured out the boundaries of a private vs. public internet. For one, it’s a highly subjective matter and doesn’t require hard and fast rules — especially not for the teenagers who are shaping it. Our selfies, this aesthetic of adolescent self-portraiture, have become a visual symbol of individuality in an evolving networked culture.

In Fast Company Senior Editor Jason Feifer’s project Tumblr Selfies at Funerals, he compiles 20 photos of teenagers taking selfies at, before, after, or related to funerals. The majority of teenagers pictured are white, Hispanic, or biracial — there is only one dark-skinned black girl present, and no young black men.

Moreover, with only two pages of about 20 Instagram and Twitter photos hashtagged #funeralselfie or with “funeral” and “selfie” as visible keywords, this curated Tumblr presents very limited evidence of what purports to be a “trend.” According to statistics released by Instagram in January 2013, there are 90 million monthly active users and 40 million photos posted per day on this social network. To claim that a mere 20 photographs constitutes a “trend” is a stretch. But the internet is eager for more selfie exploration, and Feifer named this concept and dropped it onto a neat white minimalist-themed Tumblr.

This Tumblr project is focused on adolescents who take selfies either while en route to or at funerals, or just in memoriam. Like the popular Band of Horses song “The Funeral,” with lyrics that echo the omnipresent funeral — “At every occasion I’ll be ready for the funeral / At every occasion, once more, it’s called the funeral / At every occasion, oh, one billion day funeral” — teenagers on the internet are always ready for the funeral, smartphones in hand, selfie faces ready to express a fleeting feeling.

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Read more of the selfie series here: