They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day
— Paul Simon, Kodachrome
This is a world of “if I don’t do it, it must be stupid.” Seriously, Pokemon GO! is an example of this thinking – somehow, “adults who play Pokemon GO should spend their time going out and looking for a job” is considered to be a valid opinion, despite the fact pretty much every adult I know that plays is also works. But, I’m not going on a rant about that – let’s stick to the topic.
Selfies aren’t a new phenomena by any means. As long as cameras have exist, self portrait photography has existed in one form or another. Sure, early on a selfie would have taken 10 minutes of sitting absolutely still, but it happened. Technology moved on, and as cameras got easier, people took more photos – including more selfies.
Now, there’s no film. There’s no cost to take a photo. And, you have a camera with you everywhere you go. Smartphones with cameras are nearly ubiquitous at this point in our history. That’s allowed for some amazing stuff – we document everything, everywhere. Food. Parties. Friends. Social Events. War. Death. Life. Natural disasters. And, ourselves.
At one point, I was a bit anti-selfie. At the beginning of 2016, I set out to take a selfie a day (I’ve actually somewhat failed: today is day 246 of the year, and I’ve only posted just shy of 200. Though, I’ve actually taken quite a few more than 246 – some of them just never got posted, and some of them are multiples as I tried to get the desired look, and some of them are just selfie fails.) Now, as for the why: well, that was random whim based on someone’s post. I didn’t really have much of a plan, or much of a belief that I’d actually do one a day for a year – I figured after about, oh, a month or two, I’d give up.
Along the way, I learned a few things about how to present yourself well for a photo – some of my pictures a much better than others. I also consider my selfies to be an illusion – that’s not “really me”, the one you run into on the street or at a meeting at The Anchor. There’s how I pose for it – usually taking the shot from above, so it doesn’t show my double chin. The color gets adjusted a little bit with an Instagram filter (which one depends entirely upon the content, lighting, etc.) Then there’s stuff like adjusting the sharpness and structure settings, and often apply a little vignette and possibly a bit of soft focus around the edge to make it pop.
So, why do a selfie? Great question. I mean, mine daily one is a whim, but I ended up finding a lot of uses for it:
- Promotional: It’s not uncommon for me to take a selfie with a customer or partner, as to promote their project or product.
- Goals: For workouts, selfies end up being a tool to see where I’m at with my goals. It’s pretty easy to see the gains or losses. (Speaking of which – end of this post finally has my first return to workout pics. More on that in a bit.)
- Friends: It’s nice to have a picture of yourself with your friends. It captures a moment in time with those people, one that will never return.
- A Message: Sometimes, I use my selfie a day to deliver a message, something positive to share with anyone who happens to see it.
- Amusement: And, of course, some of them end up being funny, or at least slightly amusing. To me, at least. 😉
- Self Image: Honestly, while I have a lot of self image problems, some of my selfies make me feel a little better about my appearance. I shoot to look somewhat good in them, so when I post them, it’s good and healthy to see me looking “nice.”
But, I ended up learning a few other things, too. For instance, it irritates some people that I take a selfie and post it everyday. It irritates some people that anyone takes a selfie that doesn’t fall into their pre-prescribed notions of what a profile picture should be (which, apparently, seems to be “taken by someone else, by yourself unless it’s with your significant other, preferably by a landmark. Showing support for any given cause is a bonus.”)
So, what’s the problem? Why do people have an issue with “The Selfie Generation” (Of which, I’m not a member of – I’m a Gen X’er)? Well, let’s be honest for a moment: it’s because people suck.
See, if it’s not something you personally are doing, you probably think it’s stupid – that’s not just selfies. Low hanging jeans. Bell bottoms. Country music. Rap. iPhones. Android phones. Anything that isn’t within your own personal life choices is stupid. Now, that’s not to say I haven’t had my moments where I turned my nose up at other people’s choices. Over the last couple of years though, I’ve been catching myself and slowly breaking the habit of looking down at people for their choices in style and such. And I ask myself: do their choices affect me? Are their choices unhealthy (and provably so in scientific studies)? Do their choices take away the freedom of others? Does this really matter?
More often than not, no. See, there’s a whole lot of things we, as a society, should be working towards. Equality, for instance, is one of those things. Shit like turning your nose up at “The Selfie Generation”? That’s just another way to divide us. It’s time to quit, and hang up our bullshit attacks on others, and let them be happy. Maybe we’d be a little happier too, if we spent less time bitching about others.
The First Progress Pictures (WARNING: Fat guy without a shirt below this title area)
OK, well, technically these aren’t progress pictures. They are the (somewhat) before pictures – I’ve gotten some workouts in this week, but it’s starting workouts.
There are two “let it all hang out” pictures, where my gut is fully relaxed, and none of my muscles are tensed up. I’m going to be taking these semi-daily. And, I’ll be posting them – I HATE looking like this. Trust me, the fact that someone else somewhere is gonna see this is pretty good motivation to keep moving.
The others are flexed up – it allows me to see things like muscle definition, muscle to fat ratios, etc. Those will get taken somewhere between weekly to monthly. And I’m gonna look silly doing it every time… 😉