The Commerce of Selfies

The Commerce of Selfies – Selfie to Self-Expression, Saatchi Gallery – A review of the showcase of vanity that is the Saatchi Gallery’s ‘Selfie to Self-Expression’ exhibition. Open until 30th May 2017.

A review of the showcase of vanity that is the Saatchi Gallery’s ‘Selfie to Self-Expression’ exhibition


The first ever ‘selfie’ was supposedly taken on the roof of the Marceau studio on Fifth Avenue in New York. Featuring a photographer named Joseph Byron and his colleagues, the image was captured in December 1920 and now, an exhibition at London’s Saatchi Gallery examines the story of what has become a modern day social phenomenon.


The first ever selfie


Aside from images of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 American election and lookalikes of the British royal family by Alison Jackson, this exhibition – sponsored rather appropriately by a mobile phone manufacturer plainly desperate to get its product into the public eye in England named Huawei – features everything from selfies taken with selfie sticks to selfies taken underwater. It is an array of ridiculousness and most definitely a display of extreme vanity that is present here, but with opportunities for visitors to participate, it is also something that anyone except a true killjoy will have a little fun with.


The word ‘selfie’ was announced as the Oxford English Dictionary “word of the year” in 2013 and subsequently, Business Insider, published a story that referenced selfies of groups as “usies”. Huawei Technologies, it transpires, trademarked the word “groufie” around the same time and thus it’s no wonder they managed to cut a deal with the ever-so-commercial Charles Saatchi.


‘Selfie to Self-Expression’ is on display at the Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York’s Headquarters, Kings Road, London, SW3 4RY until 30th May. The exhibition is free and open seven days a week, 10am to 6pm.





  1. Why didn’t they include the one of the bigot baron and his chum? That would be a sight worth exhibiting.

  2. Wish I were in London to see this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Looks like a lorra lorra fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I would love a selfie with Teresa May as she is going to MAKE GREAT BRITAIN GREAT AGAIN and one with I need one some hot chicks too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. I was nearly decapitated by a Japanese with a selfie stick outside Harrods. I was not amused and am lucky not to have been worse bruised.

    • I bet the idiot running away from the bull got his moment! Those horns look like they will fit up his Khyber Pass very nicely, ouch!

  4. I think Andy Warhol was one of the grandfathers of selfies. Of course, he did it in an artistic manner, unlike most people today.


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