Y is for yours truly, in defense of selfies.
Letter Y – 4/29/15
In the overused expression, love ’em or hate ’em, [such-and-such] are here to stay, let’s insert “selfies.” They’re not ever going away. You’ll never convince people en masse there’s something wrong with their self-fascination. Because there isn’t. Lumping in self-fascination with vanity doesn’t cut it. Was Van Gogh vain? Did he paint self-protraits because he felt particularly sexy without that extra ear? In each of the portraits, you could see the self-study in his eyes.
You say insanity, I say tomato.
But am I comparing selfie-takers to Van Gogh? Hell no, that man wouldn’t know a front-facing camera from a shoe!
Some like attention and some don’t, but you’d be hard pressed to find a single person without more thoughts and opinions about themselves than any other subject. I say, thank goodness for self-fascination. It’s what makes us grow and learn, and not leave the house with spinach in our teeth since we’re constantly looking in the mirror.
So the girl with her fascinatingly round breasts and perfect cleavage, splattered all over her Instagram? It’s true that she likes attention, but it’s also true that there are those who want to give it to her. Ahem. It is a symbiotic relationship between exhibitionist and voyeur, and we may as well let them be. It may take ten thousand boob shots, but eventually, they will each learn something about themselves.
Yeah no. I’m not personally vested in what they might learn.
That’s because there are more fascinating subjects at hand, like other selves. Like one’s self.
Here’s another reason why self-fascination is good and necessary: Sometimes you’re the only one who finds yourself fascinating, and that poor neglected ego of yours needs you. And if you’re like me, your self-fascination exceeds such bounds that you don’t have time to notice how few people agree with you.
Maybe my tone is confusing in this post. Maybe you can’t tell if it’s satirical or serious. I’ll tell you: It’s both. I’m exactly split in the middle on this subject. The studious, intellectual in me shuns all things frivolous. Freaking selfies? Even the word is silly.
But the fun, playful, honest me takes hundreds of them to find the good one or two with which to show off.
Of course we’re showing off! We’re all always showing off. Fortunately, the field in which “we’re all always” doing whatever, is a level field.
So selfie away, my friends. Maybe just don’t overdo it. They’re generally going to be hit and miss, forever frowned on by hoity-toities, squeed over by blossoming teenagers and leered at by dudes taking a gaming breather. If you find there’s a place for selfies, you can take measures to avoid making too many teeth grit. For one thing, there’s no reason to be repetitive. We get it: you’re good-looking. Now be original too and give us different aspects of yourself.
I may have both of my ears, but like Van Gogh, I’ve been interested in self-portraits since before the existence of the digital camera. One day, I’ll scan in the dozens of photo-booth pictures I took almost daily while living in Florence, Italy at the age of seventeen. Part of the time, I was living on the streets — yes, that is correct, I visited the photo-booth even as a homeless person.
For this post, I went in search of my creative selfies. That’s when I discovered I’ve featured myself in far more categories of selfie than merely artful. Aside from a galaxy of I’m Really Bored, Crazy or Both Selfies, categories include the All Dressed-Up Selfie, the Back Home Drunk Selfie, the Waking Up Hungover Selfie, the Crying Over a Breakup Selfie and the I Gave Myself a Shitty Haircut Selfie. That’s just a small sample of categories.
Today I’ll mainly stick to the artful ones. But don’t worry, I’ll come back to embarrass myself with the rest in some other project.
There are also the Audition Selfies, when I’m asked to dress like anything from “geek” to “gallery owner” to “red carpet attendee.” The irony isn’t lost on me of being someone who touts having a strong sense of self while leading a chameleon existence.
Meanwhile, no need to limit myself to only Van Gogh comparisons, because “when on thin ice, may as well dance.” For example, the below is an actual reflection — not a composite — so I’d like to give my Picasso eyes a bit of credit too.
And here, we approach Warhol-esque.
The face as seen through, in conjunction with or on other objects is endlessly intriguing to me. I wear fuchsia fingerless gloves when my typing hands get cold, and through one of them as well, snapped a shot of “the face.” (Very first group above,third picture.)
The fortune-teller and the haunted.
This can get obnoxious, I know, so I’ll stop here. In my defense, I take portraits of other people too, because I’m equally fascinated by what their faces can do. But for spontaneous, on-the-spot experiments, no better model exists than the self. A remote control for the camera doesn’t hurt either.
~ Part of the A to Z Challenge ~
A post a day except Sunday for the month of April to cover topics beginning with each letter of the alphabet. Events always real, names always changed.
Cathartic Monkeyism returns in May.
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