There are many out there who give selfies a bad rap. I totally get it. It can be perceived as vain to take a photo of oneself and then have the nerve to post said photo. But is it really any different than saying “cheese” for your mom, sister or best-friend as they snap a picture of you?
Like all generations, there are areas in our life that change over time. For my daughter’s generation, the ease and desire to be in front of the camera is vastly different than mine. I remember my sister, especially, hiding from the camera, as though her spirit would be held captive the moment her image was captured on film. While I wasn’t as camera-shy as my sister, I wasn’t exactly comfortable posing in front of a camera either.
Looking back, it was likely due to the fact that there weren’t very many second chances when it came to having your picture taken. Most consumers didn’t have the skill and knowledge needed to consistently get good results so most depended on a lucky shot every now and then. This explains the reason 85% or more of our pictures are blurry, under or over exposed or the framing was way off-kilter. Still we loved the pictures, good and bad, because they reminded us of special times and special people in our lives.
With digital and mobile cameras, we can snap as many frames as we desire until we are satisfied with the outcome. Not to be a picture snob, but it makes me wonder why some people post pictures in which the subject looks unintentionally goofy. This, I believe takes me back to the beginning of this post which creates a vicious circle of those who look down upon the selfie. It’s not so much the taking of the photo of oneself, it’s the likelihood that the person took a number of photos to come up with one that is picture perfect.
I know this because this is what I used to do. Being the little girl who once would desperately hide from any camera about to be pointed my way, why would I want to take a selfie? Because I’m the one who is usually behind the camera doing my best to capture the moment as perfect or real as possible, depending on the situation. Because of this, there are very few pictures of me and not knowing how much time I have, I wanted documentation that I was here, that I was young(er) once and didn’t always look like I look today.
I often joke about the way I look now. My spine is curved in an unnatural line, the bone compression taking its toll on my body. My face is fat and full as a result of taking steroids for over nine-months. My thick curly hair is thin and short after more than a year on chemo. It’s not an attractive sight. It makes me thankful that over the past six years I took a fair number of selfies.
It shocks me at times to look at the mirror and see the reflection staring back at me. I admit there are times when I go back to my archives and look at the woman, that for better or worse, is no longer me. Family and friends may protest if I were to say this to them, but there isn’t anything wrong with not being the same person. After all I’ve been through it would be odd not to see physical and emotional changes. It the same with all of us. Life is too turbulent not to expect change.
During the span of the last five year, I gradually stepped out from behind my selfies. At first, the majority of my selfies only displayed a partial portion of the self was shot. Hiding behind the camera looking into a mirror or glass was a good (safe) shot to take.
Or taking pictures of one’s feet for the “From Where I stand” series was another safe bet.
Or shadowed/purposefully blurred shots were a good go-to option.
I was gradually coming out of my shadow, but still using masking tricks such as sunflare or special exposure effects for which to hide behind.
Over this past year as my body and face have become grotesquely distorted, I have continued to take selfies, albeit not as often, most of which have promptly been deleted.
Hiding behind things is no longer quite as effective as they were in the past.
Shadows still work 🙂
I pray for the day that I can give up the steroids and perhaps see the face I once knew.