If you saw Tony Blair on Sky News on Tuesday, you may have noticed that on a shelf behind him was a photograph of a man at a lectern. That man was Tony Blair. The picture had gone by the time of later interviews, but the image remains both in the heads of viewers and via screenshots.
It’s tricky for a politicians, for whom too many self-portraits make them look like some kind of narcissist dictator.
Paris Hilton’s approach to self-portraiture is, in fact, akin to that of the vainest despots. An interview in Esquire last year revealed: “There are pictures, images, likenesses everywhere”, from a stairway filled with magazine covers she graced to cushions with her face on.
She’s not alone. An ex-lover of New York Yankees baseball player Alex Rodriguez accused him of having two paintings of himself as a centaur (half man, half horse). In 2007, Kanye West denied a story in Harper’s Bazaar, that he owned an 8ft painting of his likeness as an angel. Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo has no shame about his huge nude portrait, which hangs above his grand piano, while his former teammate Nani has a marble sculpture in his own image.
Of course pictures of yourself are allowed – those with family, ones of you meeting important people or those taken when you are very young with bad hair. But those who are self-regarding enough to have these pictures are also unlikely to be troubled by such rules.