Social media has become an important promotional tool for writers, but portraits and selfies would not be as effective as they are in generating interest and cultivating followers if they were not accompanied by text, blogs, stories, buzzwords, fashion statements, and a privileged insight into the life and work of the author.
From the nineteenth century explosion in popular visual media, to the recent digital and social media revolutions, authors have always used images to create and curate their public identities and to promote their literary works. Many of these now rare photographic prints are hidden away inside books. From Studio to Selfie puts on display some of the wealth of the Bodleian’s collection of portraits inside nineteenth century books. The juxtaposition of old and new images reveals how the storytelling and branding at use in early photographic author portraits is still at play in today’s selfie culture.