Saturday, 11 March 2017


Selfies! Oh heck. I'm going to keep it snappy this week as I don't have a great deal to say on the topic.

I do possess an iPhone and I use it all the time - for phone calls! I also use it for texting, emails, as a notepad, a calculator, an alarm clock and for recording interviews as audio files. Occasionally I've even used it as a camera, but I've never been tempted to take a selfie. No sir, not once.

Maybe it's because I worked for Kodak for over thirty years and love good photography, which selfies rarely aspire to be (even though the camera technology in phones is pretty damned impressive nowadays)? Maybe it's a generational thing - this fad fed by the technology of the recently possible only appeals to those born since the digital dawn?

In truth, I think it's simply that I prefer being the observer and not the observed.

I suppose it's a plus and very democratic that mobile phone and wireless technology has made self-portraiture easily available to all. In very olden times one would have had to be wealthy enough to employ a portrait painter to render a likeness in oils or watercolour. In less faraway days, the services of a professional photographer would be required...until Kodak made photography available to all at an affordable price a century ago.

That doesn't explain the explosion of selfies that are all over social networking sites like an ego-rash.

If it has to be a self-portrait, let it have something to recommend why anyone else but oneself should want to look at it: compositional structure, texture, depth of expression, wit even. (See the example below.) Am I asking too much? Probably. Am I missing the point? Possibly. It's no big deal.

The camera as an eye into the soul...
As for a poem on theme, I've struggled (obviously) but emerged with this helping of triple-stacked haiku which sums up the essence of selfie-obsession as far as I'm concerned.

Does My Ego Look Big In This?
without artistic control
of slices of self...

distorted features
stacked alongside the famous,
posing laconic...

'me' generation
longing to seem iconic,
framed for a second...

Thanks, as ever, for reading. Keep it real, S ;-)


Anonymous said...

With you on that one.

Anonymous said...

That's a great 'selfie'. Did you take it? Is that you? (We've never met so excuse the question.)

Steve Rowland said...

Ha ha - no, not me! I'm not sure who the photographer is/was. I found the image in an article about 100 years of Leica cameras. It's in the style of Andreas Feininger but might not be his work. Can anyone confirm?

By the way, Feininger did have this to say about his great passion: "A technically perfect photograph can be the world's most boring picture." There you go - embrace imperfection!

Anonymous said...

Well said!!!

Anonymous said...

Like the title of the poem. Sums it up for me.

Anonymous said...

You're right. It's a generation thing. My children all take and send selfies. It's just what they do, like a habit. I agree with you and I like the poem. Thank you.

Tendane Vanessa William said...

Oh how I love this blog.