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Vincent van Gogh painted more than 30 portraits of himself in three years.

Imagine what he could have accomplished with a smartphone and Instagram filters.

The prolific self-portraitist’s work is considered one of the predecessors of the modern selfie, said Rutgers professor Mary Chayko, whose Byrne Seminar, “Selfies and Digital Culture,” explores the cultural significance of selfies then and now.

“People have always thought to express and present themselves through art and technology. That goes back centuries,” said Chayko, a teaching professor of communication and information and director of undergraduate interdisciplinary studies at the School of Communication and Information, Rutgers University-New Brunswick. “If you have something in your pocket that allows you to do that at any moment, I don’t see how that wouldn’t become popular. It taps into our desire to share our experiences and ourselves. To pay attention to, ‘like’ and comment on one another’s digitally shared activities and ideas has become a hallmark of modern culture.”

Read more here.

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