July 1, 2014 § Leave a comment
People were taking selfies before smart phones. Before they were even called selfies. They were taking them before you could even tell what you were framing for. Most of the time you held out your arm as far as you could stretch and squeezed in real tight to the person next to you, just praying that you didn’t cut yourself off, or had your finger in front of the lens. Then you had to wind the damn clicky wheel for 10mins before taking a second shot for safety.
Pictures were for memories. Instant flashbacks to a happy day. This is why I enjoy the Throwback Thursday aka #tbt. It takes me back to a time when people didn’t waste good film on their food. I cringe every time I’m seated next to someone at a restaurant instagraming their meal. I’ll admit, I’ve taken part in this behavior, but it was before I realized how idiotic it was. There are only a few acceptable reasons to take pictures of your food.
1. You are a food photographer, it’s your job. You get paid for it.
2. For sentimental reasons others could not understand you need to share this picture with one or few individuals, in which case Snapchat is a useful tool.
3. You are ordered to by your nutritionist. No cheating.
Other than that, no one wants to see your food. Instead, savor the taste. Then work on your linguistics as you recall the meal. Try to use as many colorful adjectives as you can to more accurately describe the taste, smell, texture, and look of said memorable plate. I much rather hear a description of the best burger you ate than see a picture of it. Most food looks gross unless it’s dressed up for a photoshoot or super fancy already. And if you are at a super fancy restaurant, I’d say it would be a faux pas to take a quick snap shot of the amuse bouche.
As I was saying… Selfies, we’ve been doing it forever. Fascinated with our own features we’ve set forth on self-portraits of all kinds. Except now they’ve completely lost artistic integrity. There’s the selfie with the phone in the mirror, the serious selfie where the person is clearly not looking off contemplatively into the distance, and the belfie (butt selfie), which is apparently a picture you took of your own ass.
If the whole camera-lens-taking-a-bit-of-your-soul thing is true, we’ve screwed ourselves. I understand a healthy amount of narcissism is rather good. Helps your ego feel as though you have worth. If your self-esteem stocks are high you are a more productive and confident member of society. Instagram allows us to be photojournalists of our lives, creating a map of the places we’ve been and the people we know. Sure, selfies are going to be a part of that. But maybe we should limit it to only part.
I think it was only a year ago the first time I heard some one call this particular picture styling a “selfie.” I thought it was adorable. I don’t know if I thought it was adorable because I was under the impression that the quite hilarious person shooting the selfie made it up on her own, or if I genuinely thought it was a cute name for these half-assed pictures we were taking of ourselves. Unfortunately, as the media grew to exhaust it, the term lost all of it’s twinklely dust for me. When it was inducted into the dictionary, I rolled my eyes in disgust. It had become a novelty. Like those weird waving money cats in Chinatown.
Soon, I wanted to vomit every time I heard someone use it in a sentence. Fortunately for me, I surround myself with sarcastic people most of the time, so they would refer to it in jest and I could wash my puke down with laughter. Now I realize it’s just a really shitty picture you took of yourself. You look like crap because you can’t frame it up right. It’s way too close most of the time. And you have a hard time looking into the lens and smiling genuinely. Not only are you multitasking the holding the camera, pushing the button, and trying to be a model, but you are also looking at yourself in the little screen judging the picture before it’s even taken. Thus your selfie is the worst picture of you ever taken. Clearly, the shooter had some issues with the task.
Bottom line, you’ll get better results handing the camera off to someone else.
I like how, thanks to modern technology, we’ve managed to come up with a dual digital lens to help us frame our narcissism, but still cannot properly get rid of redeye. I always end up looking like the demon friend because of my blue peepers.
I would like to leave you with this thought, if you think it might be an inappropriate place to take a selfie. You should probably just leave the memory in your mind. Let’s be honest, it’s not called a “selfie” because of the wonderful scenery behind you.
Also, do not Google image search “selfie” just don’t.
In appropriate places to take a selfie: A funeral. Jail. In front of an arson. A hospital. Nasty public restrooms, or on the toilet, or in the shower. Actually just stay away from bathrooms in general. With the cop who just pulled you over. Auschwitz. The delivery room. A homeless shelter. Anytime you have been clearly crying your eyes out. At the dentist. Driving. After sex.
Anymore you can think of?