The selfie photograph is potentially profoundly empowering, but as a genre it can also be repetitive and affirming of specific and exclusive ideas about beauty and female self-worth; it all depends on the selfie in question. Amidst the plethora of staged selfie images, one selfie we don’t see very much is a selfie in which a woman’s body is changing unpredictably, and that’s what makes the photographer Sophie Starzenski’s 40 Weeks and a Mirror so powerful.
Throughout her pregnancy, the artist archived images of her bare torso against a bathroom mirror, documenting her transition from a woman 4 weeks pregnant to one cradling a 2-month-old baby. The images break free from both the artifice of the selfie and the worshipful sentimentality of the standard pregnancy photography; they are honest images that acknowledge the fact of the camera and the photographic eye without pretension.
She’s a woman, nearly nude in her own bathroom, the camera lens substituted for her face and perhaps some unknowable inner meaning. Here, against all the snapshots of women torn down for their bodies or revered for their beauty, is a woman watching herself with fascination and amazement, in dialogue with only herself.
Thanks to My Modern Met
Images via My Modern Met