Thought #47. On selfies.

The self-portrait is not a latest craze. Art history, ancient and modern, gives comprehensive accounts of this genre as a common means of expression among artists. The question is what is the motivation, if any, for an artist to depict himself.

As an aficionado of photography, I have always been amazed at the power of images. Perhaps in pursuit of an aesthetic value, or maybe out of the need of expressing feelings; no wonder I ended up taking pictures of myself. But I hardly ever shared them with friends or family.

I feel like telling something with my photography and that may prevent my output from being much of a muchness. I would not have published my work unless I had been sure that each picture’s message came across as intended. I know full well that my work is not suitable for anyone, though. I am quite comfortable with detractors too.

Why did I take the picture above? Within those four edges I found a way to represent a question mark. But, deep inside I really wanted to spark, at least, criticism. I remember the remark that a photographer, whose work is a model for me, made when I first showed him this photo. He could have disapproved of the lack of compositional rules, the overuse of negative space (which refers to showing a lot of empty space), and many other technicalities. Instead, he said “I’m puzzled”. Bravo, I murmured to myself.

After that short remark, he told me that by hiding my mouth I was leaving the viewer totally clueless. Without any reference but a pair of eyes wide open, he was unable to tell whether I was laughing, making fun of him or simply scared.

Maybe this story leads the way and the reader will follow. When an opportunity of taking a selfie arouses, it is highly advisable to approach it with the willingness to tell something. People are jaded with meaningless imagery, you too.