CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

December 19, 2013

Selfies: A Not-So-New Concept

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

Movicons2-hugsandkisses(3) Hug for Ben

SELFIES: A NOT-SO-NEW CONCEPT

I once daringly drove alone all the way from southeast of Pittsburgh to the distant New England town of Presque Isle, Maine. Being 1996 it was before cell phones took pictures which could instantaneously placed on the Internet.

Someone came along to snap this photo at Wallis Sands Beach in Rye, New Hampshire

Someone came along to snap this photo at Wallis Sands Beach in Rye, New Hampshire

Fast forward to Munich, Germany, in November, 2000. My husband Monte and I were visiting my son Nolan, who was in Germany doing post-doctorate work at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. While there Monte and Nolan traveled to Prague. I opted to remain in Munich so I could investigate the city deeper than I could while railing through Europe.

Palace view near Munich, Germany

Palace view near Munich, Germany

In both cases, I was by myself. Being a paraprofessional photographer I always carried my camera with me and I always exercised my trigger finger, documenting sites and experiences wherever I was.

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Because I wanted to document that I was present in the New England and Munich sites and experiences I became creative. I not only watched for persons (having a camera equal to or better than mine) to shoot photographs in which I was a subject, I discovered how to take pictures of myself by me.

Mirror reflection at a German castle

Mirror reflection at a German castle

The pictures I took of myself would, today, be referred to as selfies.

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On December 12, 2013, I read an opinion piece on selfies by Nafari Vanaski: Obama not alone in our love of selfies — even at funerals:

  • U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron pose for a picture with Denmark’s Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt next to U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama during the memorial service of South African former president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium (Soccer City) in Johannesburg on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013.

Leaving the issue of taking selfies at funerals to another post I want to address the opinions of both Bowling Green State University pop culture lecturer Matthew Donahue’s and the author, as expressed in the op-ed, on selfies.

  • Donohue: It (selfies) speaks to the 21st-century, technological-dominated society we live in…It’s another way for people to document their lives.
  • Vanaski: Photographs have been used to record historic events for a long time…Why do we have to insert ourselves into every event?…how is it not self-absorbed to (more…)

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