Maria Mars
Brooklyn, NY


The selfie: instantaneous, ubiquitous, often hilarious, and utterly disposable. But Maria Tsaguriya ’09 sees value in those self-directed snapshots, noting parallels with portraits of yore.

“Traditional portraiture was something that was only affordable to higher classes,” she says. “Technology has allowed us to take a picture just about anywhere, instantly immortalizing ourselves.”

Unfortunately, she adds, “the trillions of others have lessened the value of each image.”

To elevate this lowly art form, Tsaguriya recently embarked on the Selfie Project, creating 100 pastel paintings on black paper based on selfies from friends and relatives. She hopes the project will restore some dignity to the selfie and show people its worth as a means of expression and communication.

“Although selfies can indicate a very narcissistic personality,” she says, “it can also be the way people claim their bodies and be ‘real’ and allow people into their personal life.”