Selena Gomez's "Bad Liar" Artwork is Powerful and Vulnerable

Selena Gomez's "Bad Liar" Artwork is Powerful and Vulnerable

What more could you want from an artist in 2017?

What more could you want from an artist in 2017?

Text: Alex Kazemi

Selena Gomez and photographer Petra Collins have shared a promotional image for the singer's forthcoming track, “Bad Liar,” on Instagram. The portrait sees the musician lying down with a noticeable RISK bracelet—a tag hospitals put on patients needing special attention or ones that are particularly weak.

The photo will undoubtedly provoke an emotional reaction in many suburban viewers, who would not expect to ever see her in this state. The last time we saw such a real controversial image of a woman in pop, so afraid and filled with uncertainty, was with Fiona Apple’s “Criminal” video in 1997.

The image has already been met with numerous headlines saying that the photo “raises eyebrows” about Gomez's health. Everyone alive in the Instagram era wants to see something real, and when we are presented with images marketed to us as “real,” it’s easy to be cynical and question its authenticity. In a world where people’s most vulnerable moments can be rewarded with “likes,” how can you not become desensitized to the emotions and motives behind someone choosing to expose themselves unfiltered on social media?

The darkest and most powerful part of this photograph of Gomez is the fact that it doesn’t offer any redemption or hope; she is representing herself as is, how she feels. It’s not fashion. It’s not sad girl chic. It’s not “a look.” It’s violent and unwelcoming, and only more powerful because the bracelet and bandage aren't props. Collins stated in an Instagram comment that Gomez arrived on set straight from the hospital after a treatment for her lupus. This is the beautiful result of candid documentation. Is that not what we all want more of in 2017?‎

#BadLiar 5.18

A post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on

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