Tamilyn Chen


Tamilyn Chen has always been an advocate for selfies and is always in search for the perfect lighting. She sees power in the selfie. Agency. Control. However, even when taking the photos herself, she finds it rather suffocating when navigating Snapchat. She thinks about how fleeting Snapchat can be. Of 10 second photos and videos, of 24 hour stories. She thinks about the ways in which Snapchat filters slim down and symmetrize the face, smooth out the skin, and enlarge/ exaggerates the lips and eyes. She also thinks about the time Snapchat featured almost exclusively white people when creating the mannequin challenge public Snapchat story. She wonders why Abraham Lincoln gets his own filter today, and how uncomfortable she felt when using that filter. She thinks about yellowface and blackface filters that Snapchat has since taken down. She thinks of representation, of erasure, of internalization. She finds true power when painting herself, as she gets to interpret and decide how yellow her skin should be, and how large her eyes should be.