I believe that art and photography (selfies included) both serve to reflect the society in which they were created and further develop that society, playing a larger role in what will come to define it. Selfies are usually just thought of as a sort of “digital self portrait,” or a picture focused on the person taking it. However, if someone from the future were to look at a selfie taken today, they would see more than just a stranger. They would see the person’s clothes and hairstyle, their location (what the buildings look like, where they are), and what’s going on around them. All of these can act as indicators of the society and culture present at this specific point, and can help distinguish (as well as provide information on) a certain time period, location, etc.
Society isn’t simply recorded through its productions; it’s defined by it. For example, the Italian Renaissance is characterized by massive growth in the fields of in art, architecture, science and literature. The artistic and cultural environment, as well as its products, is what the Renaissance itself emerged from and would later be the most closely associated with. Today, we face a similar situation with selfies. Selfies have all but become ubiquitous in today’s society, and what has been called “selfie culture” has been both criticized and praised for its impact on the world we live in today, especially the digital world.