Thursday, January 30, 2014


Early selfie. 
Some of my friends (and internet snarks at-large) hate selfies.

 Half of the haters are hypocrites. While they talk smack about duck-faced teens and muscly guys with dirty mirror selfies, they routinely post pictures of themselves in more "respectable" poses that I'm certain -- because I have taken my share of selfies-- that they took of themselves although they pretend that they did not take them.

Half of the selfie haters are just clueless about why someone would take a photo of themselves. The assumption is that we only take selfies to show off how cute we are through a filter (argh, Instagram). And while that maybe partly true, as a selfie-lover I can think of lots of reasons to take a selfie. I was taking selfies while working at a computer support center in the early 2000s and that was before social media made it the norm.

When I look at myself through my own lens (whether it be my expensive digital camera, my iPhone, or my webcam) so many things are going on. Sometimes I really am like my duck-faced peers. I want to check out how cute I am. I want to take a picture and show my friends that I'm doing fine and looking fine.Other times, I'm trying to figure something out. I have this expressive hair and sometimes I can only figure out what to do with it (or if what I've done with it has worked) through a photo.

Then there are the times when I feel like I share something with the woman in the early selfie above. I don't know anything about her. We can assume she was a photographer. Look at the photos on the shelf beside her. Her face in the camera is contemplative. She's an artist trying to figure something out. Maybe it's something about the camera itself. Maybe it's something about posing or timing. Maybe it's something about herself. Her dress is pretty fancy. Maybe she wanted to document it.

I take lots of pictures of my face. I look at myself and imagine how others see me.I try to figure out if my internal view of myself is what I present to others. I wonder if I can actually stare in my own eyes. I have existential moments when the photos I take of myself serve as studies of my own existence. Am I here? What am I? Who am I?

Selfies help me document moments in my life that would otherwise pass without reflection. Before my own lens I become a subject of my own regard. Overtime I can see how I have changed, what has remained. I am able to know more about me.

Is it vanity? Certainly it is sometimes. I'm cool with that.

Some selfies are just for myself (r) and others are for mass consumption.

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