Narcissus in Bloom: An Alternative History of the Selfie


Newcastle City Library

Join author Matt Colquhoun for a consideration of the ways that so many artists have regarded their own image. How might the age of the selfie be considered as a time of transformation rather than stasis?

Narcissism is the defining pathology of the twenty-first century, but what if it is not self-obsession that defines us but a need for self-transformation?

Matt Colquhoun’s book Narcissus in Bloom is a short history of the self-portrait, beginning with Renaissance painters like Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt and Caravaggio, through to photographers and celebrities like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian, Lee Friedlander and Hervé Guibert.

Matt Colquhoun is a writer and photographer from Hull, UK. They are the author of Egress: On Mourning, Melancholy and Mark Fisher (2020) and the editor of Mark Fisher’s Postcapitalist Desire: The Final Lectures (2021). They are currently based in Newcastle upon Tyne.

‘Rather than see the selfie as a sign of self-absorption, this engrossing volume understands the selfie as expressing a longing for a kind of self-transformation. Elegantly and stylishly written, this book is the best kind of cultural criticism, sweeping away the worn- out cliches of the familiar for the freshness and wonder of the truly new.’ —Jon Greenaway, author of Capitalism: A Horror Story

Part of the Books on Tyne festival

33 New Bridge Street West Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8AX

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23 November 2023


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