Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-1-2024

Faculty Advisor(s)

Kelli Fuery


This analysis focuses on the creative and cultural industries, exploring the interrelationship between self, image, and digital culture through various representations of “selfies” or self portraits. Drawing on Susan Sontag's On Photography, I argue images as crucial cultural artifacts express various connections to personal identity and sense of self; further, I use Jean Baudrillard’s theory of simulacra and simulation to explore the relationship between an original object and an image. Here I propose a novel interpretation for simulacra: rather than viewing images solely as devalued replicas or exact equals of their subjects, I suggest that deliberately unreliable and manipulated images such as selfies can serve as crucial tools for shaping one's sense of self. Through my own collection of selfies, I demonstrate how previous ideas and theories of simulacra lack an interpretation of image in the modern digital age in regards to purposeful unreliability. I conclude by noting Jose Van Dijck’s research on the impact of digital technology on image and how this connects to my proposed theory of simulacra: the subject of an image, such as a selfie, can intentionally create unreliable representations of themselves which contributes to the creation of their desired "sense of self” portrayed through their images.


Presented at the Spring 2024 Student Scholar Symposium at Chapman University.