Huawei’s latest phone, the P10, is quickly becoming a fan favourite for its Leica-engineered camera, which is so good, it can make your pics look professional-quality. Every. Single. Time. The P10 is particularly strong at giving you good selfie game, and Huawei has teamed up with the Saatchi Gallery to explore the selfie phenomenon in a new exhibition entitled “From Selfie to Self-Expression.”
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the concept of the selfie didn’t exist until Kim Kardashian first pouted her lips and took a mirror-reflected snap of herself back in 2012. A new Saatchi Gallery exhibition in collaboration with Huawei, “From Selfie to Self-Expression,” begs to differ.
Turns out, the selfie has been around since the 16th century. It was just that artists were the only ones with the tools, materials and skills to make self-portraits back then.
Whereas now, we all can. We just need a smartphone. Ideally with a camera as sick as the new Huawei P10’s.
Old Masters through a new lens
It’s a compelling argument entering the first room of the exhibition. You come face to face with digitised versions of your fave self-portraits by all the greats: Rembrandt, Frida Kahlo, Van Gogh. Each image is hooked up to the latest Huawei P10 Lite camera so guests can interact with these iconic self-portraits as though they were on their own phones. Just tap the heart icon to “Like.”
Plenty of other artists and photographers have embraced the selfie-model of reinterpreting themselves via their medium. Proceed through the exhibition and you’ll see works from talents like Cindy Sherman, Chuck Close, Lucien Freud and Gavin Turk on display.
Why the P10 is made for selfies
Saatchi and Huawei’s exhibition is the world’s first to explore the history of the selfie, according to gallery chief executive Nigel Hurst. Hurst spoke of the “emerging role of smartphones as a tool of self-expression in its own right.”
Once you see some of the blown-up exhibition photos taken only with the phone, the Huawei P10 does seem like the ultimate smartphone for self-expression.
The dual-lens Duo 2.0 camera is equipped to capture 12MP colour and 20MP monochromatic pictures and the cameras work in tandem to create one crisp, detailed image.
The new ‘Portrait Mode’ feature allows the lenses to combine together and make a 3D image of your subject’s face. Using an impressive new bokeh effect and skin-perfecting ‘Beauty Mode’ which works on the main camera and 8MP front camera, your subject looks crisper than ever before. The intensity of the effects is all customisable. The camera also automatically adjusts to frame individual and group selfies.
The selfie obsession in all its (many) forms…
Exhibition-goers can see the Huawei P10’s camera action in full effect. One room is devoted to photos of 10 Young British Photographers to watch (Laura Pannack, Matt Stuart, Christopher Nunn, Hannah Starkey, Emma Critchley, Tom Hunter, Alma Haser, Jonny Briggs, Simon Roberts and Chris Levine). They were each given a Huawei P10 and commissioned to do whatever they wanted with it. Not surprisingly, many used the P10’s Portrait Mode to create their stark and haunting images.
The exhibition also focuses on the larger selfie phenomenon as a whole, which has pervaded every facet of our lives. The celebrity selfie, the extreme sports or extreme danger selfie (diving with sharks, anyone?), the tourist/travel selfie. Don’t miss our own take on these in our Obligatory selfie series, which celebrates Three’s Feel At Home, allowing you to travel to 42 countries around the globe without incurring any roaming charges.
Selfies, selfies everywhere
There’s also a room with the #SaatchiSelfie exhibition. 44,000 people from over 113 countries took part in the exhibition’s selfie competition, with 10 shortlisted winners displayed on the hallowed gallery walls.
Dawn Woolley – whose selfie “The Substitute” features a picture of a man lying in the grass, embracing a life-sized magazine cut-out of a woman – was named the winner by judges, including Tracey Emin and Idris Khan. She will receive the top prize: her own international photography shoot with Leica. All the shortlisted runners-up got to take home a Huawei P10 phone, as well as the international acclaim that comes with having an artwork of yours hanging in the Saatchi.
In case you had any doubts, selfie-taking was most definitely encouraged during the exhibition, judging by all the selfie sticks, mirrors and interactive displays on show. Daniel Roisin’s pom-pom mirror changed silhouette to reflect the person posing in front of it, while ‘smoking mirrors’ create a smoky effect as you snap yourself. Krystof Wdicizko’s surveillance room, which reflects guests as if on CCTV cameras, shows off the darker side of selfie obsession.
Keen to check it out for yourself? We’d highly recommend it. Just don’t forget to tag #selfieseer if you post anything.
Whatever you think about selfies, this exhibition proves they’re something we can have a lot of fun with. And that selfies are, legitimately, ART.
From Selfie to Self-Expression is on until 30th May at the Saatchi Gallery, King’s Road, London