In Defense of Selfies

I’m quite a bit older than your average tween so bear with me. I actually have solid reasons why you should take selfies at least once a day. I’ve been taking selfies for 8 years so I’ve had a lot of time to think about this. Back in 2006 I was inspired by Noah Kalina to shoot a picture of myself everyday.

Watching him change was fascinating.

I wanted to know how much an adult changes in time. I mean when you’re a kid ….of course the changes are drastic. But as an adult  the changes are subtle and it’s affected by weight, your emotions, your environment, and so many other factors. I found that really interesting. And tracking ages 33 to 44 seemed like a good time to start. So I’ve been shooting selfies since 2006.

You’re probably thinking “Oh Elaine, of course you’re just going to post Instagrammed perfectly filtered images of yourself.” And yeah. I’m 40. Girl needs a little help with filters and special lighting.

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But it’s not all prettiness. Sometimes a filter can’t fix what’s going on in your face. And that’s ok.

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When I go through all these photos I’m instantly reminded what happened on that day.

Which takes me to my first point why it’s good to take a selfie a day.

1. You will forget a lot of the funny and amazing things that happen in your life. Taking a selfie every day will help you remember a lot of it. Of course you’re going to remember the day you got married, or when your kid was born, or when you passed the bar exam. But it’s the smaller joys that I particularly like to remember. And that’s where selfies help.

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For example, this is a shot from 11.20.2010.
I had gone to my first crab feed knowing that crabs make me swell up. The place was packed with tons of people chowing down on crab that you ate and threw into buckets. It was one of the best eating experiences of my life. And I don’t remember how bad my hands swelled up.

 

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Here’s 12.25.2008. First time at a Korean spa in Seoul.
I purposely signed up for a Korean woman to scrub all the dead skin off my body. I’ve never been so clean in my life. This is me loopy after sitting in a hot sauna with a bunch of Korean grandmas.

 

 

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And 9.24.2011
First time I volunteered at Habitat for Humanity and realized I REALLY love miter saws. So much so I bought one and made bookshelves for our house.

 

 

2. Selfies teach you how to not pose like you got a fat chin.
Majority of us are not models and we will never be models. However, you’re going to have your picture taken. Whether it be at a wedding, or a group photo, or for a staff photo for your company’s website. You WILL have your picture taken and you should learn how to pose your head so you’re relatively happy with the result. Selfies is practice. I’ve practiced over 2500 times. I know how to angle my head so I don’t look confused or dopey.

If you don’t know how to pose for a portrait watch this video by Peter Hurley. It’s ALL ABOUT THE JAW.

3. If you lose your mind, your loved ones can show you the pictures you’ve taken and hopefully it will bring you back to reality.
I think I’ve watched The Notebook too much but this is the reason I use every time when I try to convince my husband to let me take a picture of him. This kind of loops in to reason #1 above. Pictures trigger memories and if you lose your mind these picture are a map back to who you are and the life that you had. As I grow older I know memories fade and if I can find a way to remember as much as possible I’m gonna do it.

I want to remember the fights, the struggles, the miseries because as I flip through each image and I see a difficult day in my eyes, it’s always balanced out by days where I can see the growth, the wins, the joy.

So if you see my pictures and you think “Oh good lord Elaine is vain” that’s fine. It’s not for you. It’s for the future me who may not remember that one day long ago …

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I had a really good day walking on the beach with my sweetheart….

 

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I went to England and had high tea with my best friends…

 

 

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I went ziplining with my mom.

 

 

 

So go forth and shoot selfies. However, if you shoot a selfie at a crazy venue with an iPad I am going to judge you. That just looks weird to me. It’s not a Hasselblad. It’s not a medium format camera so stop acting like it is.

 

 

2 Comments In Defense of Selfies

  1. Mike Linksvayer

    Hi Elaine, long time, and apparently I subscribe to your blog via good old RSS. I don’t think the practice needs defending, though you have done so convincingly. The word is annoying. I thought of you toward the end of The Great Beauty, in which the main character visits this guy’s exhibition of photos taken every day of his life, first by his father, then by himself. The subject seems kind of crazy and the exhibit at first an exercise in pointlessness, but it is quickly apparent that it is worthy and affecting.

  2. Elaine

    Even though RSS brought me to your attention, you actually read what I wrote. That was really nice of you. Thanks. Your thoughts mean alot to me and I’m grateful you took the time to comment.

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