Artist’s Statement

In Defense of The Image offers a second look at smartphone produced selfies. This year-long series is composed of self-portrait photographs collected via AirDrop from iPhone display models at varying locations in New York and Connecticut. The self-portrait photographs or selfies, are self-representations but they are also a part of a larger socio-technical phenomenon. These selfies contained metadata (not displayed) like the location, date, and phone settings of the photo taken. 

The photographs explore the process of reproduction as a form of subversion, placing an emphasis on themes of privacy, ownership of images, and the relationships between the public and the private. These photographs stress that in the age of surveillance capitalism, these selfies are not private.

The title for this project is inspired by Hito Steyerl’s essay, “In Defense of the Poor Image.”


In Defense of the Image


Karen Montejo (b. 1998) is a multimedia artist. She is a 1.5-generation undocumented (currently under DACA) immigrant born in Iztapalapa, Mexico, and raised in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Her work focuses on themes surrounding identity and belonging.

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© 2019 Karen Montejo