undefinedSome say that selfies are a self indulgent narcissistic, desperate behavior. And for some they may be, but for some others they are not at all. In fact, for me selfies are not self indulgent, they are a form of artistic expression with technology that conveniently date stamps all attributes of that moment. Sometimes they are to demonstrate a new product or look, and sometimes it’s something else. True that you don’t photograph everything you do, but as they say, the eyes are the mirror to the soul, and selfies, much like autoportraits, can be insightful. How?

Growing up in Europe what one might think of as selfies were all around me; before the latest iPhones. Yes, in the form of art and some great photography (with self timers); with fine old cameras my father used. So, to me often, a selfie is a pure expression of the moment, the state of mind and emotional place one is in. Sometimes the selfies are inspired by others, sometimes not. Just like autoportraits of the art world. I grew up with images of Van Gogh and Gauguin. Sometimes the selfies are inspired by others, sometimes not. Here are a few artists known for their autoportraits:

Durer- I grew up with this painting. We had a replica of this in our Budapest home.
One of the many autoportraits of Van Gogh (all of them relfect a different emotional
The famous post ear unrequited love autoportrait
One of Gaugain’s many autoportraits, you can see how he evolved in his life.

And of course, the original Goddess of Selfies (ok, self revealing and meaningful selfies)

I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.

Frida Kahlo

So for me selfies are not a self indulgent narcissistic begging for attention act. Having seen autoportraits in Euorpe throughout my childhood (including in my own home), it’s business as usual. I don’t have the talent of a painter, so I use a high tech version. As I look back at my photos, and I recall everything, especially the sentiment and emotional state of when that photo was taken. And that is, to some of us, the value of these selfies. Yes, sometimes it’s fun to capture some new decadent acquisition, but it’s so much more.

I see some of my friends’ selfie photos as well on social media, and many of them are not self indulgent.

And, yes, self-portraits are convenient exercises because the model is always available and works for free. But a self-portrait can evoke and reveal much more when taken beyond the bounds of straightforward exercise.

Artists Network

I do take selfies, mostly in the Frida Kahlo sense. I look back at some of these and know exactly how and what I felt. I am sure many feel the same way. Being appreciated for these photos is great but not the primary driver. Of course, some good inspiration doesn’t hurt to keep going.

Some of these photos made on the website for Lagos and Swarovski, so that was flattering and more of a lifestyle / decadence thrill. But most are certain moments and I remember exactly what I was thinking and feeling and what inspired the photo. So to me, selfies are artistic autoportraits not photos crying for attention. Here are few, some on instagram.

So keep on taking your selfies if you are in the mood; decadence is a state of mind. Don’t let society label you as full of yourself for taking them. For me, it’s a creative outlet. Not all my selfies are taken at peak glamour, some show me not feeling my best (shown above-beat after work), working out, or just feeling weird with not the best hair or messed up eyeliner, but that’s reality. Sometimes I’m not in the mood for taking them, sometimes I am-although when not in the mood, I find it to be a good distraction. And I don’t post all my selfies…they are kind of a photography journal.. Like for anything else, there are no rules or formulas. These are no different than autoportraits. And again, remember (yes I mentioned this a few times in this post….but it needs to be repeated):

I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.

Friday Kahlo

Some of the selfies are not truly portraits either-full body shot using mirrors. No need for society to label one for having fun with this concept. If the urge to take on strikes, just do it