The Not So Real Selfie

I don’t have an Instagram and I don’t plan on getting one anytime soon. I just never understood the obsession people have with being constantly connected to other people all the time. I get enough of people through the day, why would I want any other type of form that would connect me to them. However I’ve been learning of all these artist who show there work through this media rather than waiting for someone to notice them and allow them to have a proper showing.

One of such artist is LA based Amalia Ulman. I came across her when I was reading an article hat led to an interview she did.


The obsession that people have with social media intrigued Ulman and she decided to begin a project surrounding this pop culture phenomenon. One of her inspirations was the public breakdown of Amanda Bynes, not exact;y what happened to her, but how people reacted to it. Ulman began to examine some of the most followed Instagram accounts of girls who are known as the “tumbler girl”. the”sugar baby ghetto girl”, and “the girl next door”. I personally have never heard of the “sugar baby ghetto girl”, so I’m not completely sure if what I’m thinking is what it actually is.

Through these three photos you can get an idea of some of the personas she has.

thnx for the presnt 😘 #bae #gurl #thanks

A post shared by Amalia's Instagram (@amaliaulman) on


Ulamn gained a mass following mostly because of another project that was going on at the time by Constant Dullaart who bought fake followers for a number of artist. Ulamn says it’s easy to gain followers if you use popular hashtags, following popular trends, and use Photoshopped pictures of women.

Ulamn says that what surprised her the most was that some people believed that the whole thing was real even though they had been told it was fake. She said women tended to like it more than men. Ulamn believes that this is because women know how long it takes to get ready and put make-up on. most of them don’t take pictures out of nowhere, but instead spend  a long time getting  the perfect picture, while guys look over that and would simply just comment “You look hot”.

Good niteeee!!

A post shared by Amalia's Instagram (@amaliaulman) on


Ulman says the whole reason behind the project was to show how photography, in this case Instagram, depicts class and cultural capital. Also the line between fiction and non-fiction that exists in social media.

I believe the reason people are so obsessed with social media is because they just want to be accepted. Likes, comments, friends, followers, it’s all the same; a competition for approval, popularity. People only post what they want people you to see and believe about them. Even those no-makeup selfies are prepared with time and energy to get an effortless look. Above all people seem to have a fear of being alone.


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