Welcome to the world of STEFDIES. Here, everyone has a seat at the table, no matter your color or creed, all are welcome to take respite from the daily trudge. Lie down (pun intended), get comfy and take a moment to reflect, escape… and laugh.
STEFDIES is a photographic performance art series that chronicles a life and celebrates the beauty of natural landscapes and manmade landmarks, through an anti-selfie lens. Each image satirizes both the fascination with perfection and the obsession to capture the perfect, grammable photo.
Every image is a captured moment in time, nothing is preplanned.
Just like life we only have one shot.
Through STEFDIES, Stephanie Leigh Rose is credited for creating the Anti-Selfie movement. The series is a reaction to the pressures of social media, selfie culture and consumer consumption. Thus the character of STEF was born. Creator Stephanie Leigh Rose transformed her own experience of sexism, racism and classism into a positive outlet, where a series of images can link people through a shared experience of a laugh, or an excitement to travel.
Modern day is saturated with highly manipulated images. Across advertisements, entertainment and celebrities’ social media pages, it’s hard to find non-sexualised and unedited images of the female form. Countless studies have drawn links between exposure to artificially enhanced images and a lowered sense of self esteem in the viewer, both in men and women. STEFDIES is purposefully presenting the image of an unedited body, in a variety of arguably unflattering poses and angles. One intention of the series is to widen the variety of images being paraded on social media and help to normalise seeing real female bodies with flaws.
STEFDIES is a celebration of life. It is a reminder to live for more than just getting that perfect picture and not take for granted our time on this planet. Perhaps a reminder of our morality is healthy as it can encourage us to make the most of our life and not spend time worrying about other people’s opinions, or about reaching other people’s expectations. Death is universal and in some ways that makes us all equal.
There aren’t many Instagram trends that don’t revolve around the ideas of perfection and status, neither are there many influencers, who preach body positivity, who match their words to actions. This can be particularly harmful to young people growing up online. Therefore, Leigh Rose wants to be a genuine voice celebrating imperfection and to be the role model that she wished she’d had when she was growing up. The hope is that the STEFDIES series can inspire young people to be creative and make content that goes beyond portraying unattainable appearances, by being their authentic selves.
It’s common knowledge that laughter is life’s best medicine. STEFDIES intends to provide a lighthearted respite from the ‘doom-scrolling’ of never-ending images showing perfect people living perfect lives. All of these posts make us feel like we aren’t enough, but the ethos behind STEFDIES is about shouting from the rooftops that we are enough just as we are. If we can laugh at the ridiculousness of STEF ‘dying’ surrounded by goats then maybe we can laugh at ourselves and what makes us different, and then own it!
STEFDIES embodies the literal impact of humans on the Earth. After all, it’s hard to ignore our reliance and proximity to the Earth when you’re lying face down on it. The series intends to elicit questions from the viewer, including: what is my impact on the natural world? By not having a face for our eyes to be instinctively drawn to, the portrait series directs our attention to the beauty of the surroundings, whether that be man-made or organic. Should we celebrate both? Are the manmade structures further evidence of our irreversible influence on the planet or our commendable attempts to mirror nature’s own works of art?
About the Creator
Stefdies is a performance artist, actor, director, traveller, mother and eco-warrior.
As her undergraduate degree, she studied Theatre Studies and Japanese Studies at The State University of New York, graduating with departmental Honours and gaining a EUREKA Genius Grant in the process. She continued her education, gaining a Master of Fine Arts in Performance Studies from The Theatre Conservatory of Chicago College of Performing Arts, at Roosevelt University.
Artists that she has created other performance art pieces with include: Taro Akiba, Dr Theresa KiJa Kim, Kestutis Nakas and Tim Miller. She has performed with theatres across the globe including: Steppenwolf Theater, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Victory Gardens Theater, Chicago Children’s Theatre, and The Court Theatre. She is also an award-winning screen actor and experienced director. Yoko Ono, Pee-Wee Herman, Jim Henson, and Mr.Rogers are her heroes.
The moral intention of the series is to create an inclusive, safe place where everyone can get involved and start living more in the moment. You are enough. You don’t need to be a size zero or be in any way ‘perfect’ to take a STEFDIES photo! You don’t even need expensive equipment; the STEFDIES images are taken on an iPhone, with no lighting, no permits, no make up artist. This is a wholesome community where people of any age, gender, sexuality, religion, race or nationality can wholeheartedly be present, laugh and create. If you put your whole self out there and be vulnerable then you are invincible. Let’s reclaim space and reclaim autonomy over how we view ourselves. Reject all the social pressures put upon yourself. Subvert the standards imposed on you. Let’s be our authentic selves with pride. Let’s leave a mark.
“No matter how many times she ‘dies’ I just can’t stop laughing. I think it’s the commitment to the face down sprawl. Just awesome.”
“This is why the internet is the best invention of our time.”
“Performance Art! Dedication!”
“Every picture, every video makes me laugh until I can’t breathe.”
“This was awesome! It also proves how wrapped up us human beings are in our own little world and not paying attention to our surroundings. WAKE UP PEOPLE!”
“Literally the funniest Instagram feed ever!!”
“Thanks for always making me laugh!”
“Yesterday I introduced my 6yr old to your pics and today, at a family dinner, he had a little giggle then lay flat on his face”