My husband is not good at taking pictures. He’s impatient with posing and with getting others to pose and he doesn’t think at all about lighting or composition or waiting for everyone to be ready. He doesn’t like having to keep track of a camera, or even a cell phone, and he doesn’t care that much about the end result anyway. It’s kind of admirable, really. It’s like he lives in the moment so much that he’s not worrying about remembering that particular moment later. But when it comes to taking pictures, he’s just terrible at it.
Later, though, we all enjoy looking at our family pictures together and those pictures act as windows into old memories and favourite stories, and I’m the one who realizes that if we want to keep enjoying pictures in the future, we actually have to take them in the present.
So I take pictures. And because there’s usually no one else taking any, I take selfies. I love selfies. I think it’s important for me to be in the pictures, and this a really easy way to accomplish that. Besides, it’s fun!
The image of someone with a phone in their hand, pointed at themselves as they take dozens of pictures from all different angles is not a great image, I agree. And I am occasionally self-conscious when I take one of these shots. But, as with so many things, balance is possible. Just because it’s possible to go overboard with something (I’m looking at you Kim K!) doesn’t mean that thing is inherently bad. Remember the video of the girls at the baseball game who were made fun of by the broadcasters because they were all on their phones instead of watching the game? They didn’t look great, at least not to the announcers of the game or the hundreds of people who commented and tweeted about it afterward. But watch that movie again. Did you notice how much fun those girls were having?
It is definitely possible to use the selfie for narcissistic and selfish reasons, but that doesn’t make all selfies narcissistic and selfish. And, I was AT the pumpkin patch, darn it, and I wanted the pictures to prove it!
I also couldn’t resist documenting the time I was lying on the couch alone and then I was suddenly completely surrounded:
And how else am I going to take a picture of the bunny/toddler pair on my lap? (Although I definitely cropped myself out of this one for Instagram. I’m know where I’m not needed.)
And when my wonderful friend made me an amazing t-shirt and bought me an awful headband, I needed to honour them while they were still clean:
Okay, so for this one I said, “Hey, let’s all lay on the floor and take a picture!” and it was pretty fun for everyone involved. Family selfie time is family bonding time.
So if you find yourself obsessed with taking pictures, selfie-style or not, take a lesson from my husband and forget your phone at home a few (dozen) times. You’ll soon discover that Instagram doesn’t miss you all that much and that you can still make memories even if you don’t document them. But if you find yourself so worried about looking silly that you hesitate to join in the selfie fun, then I suggest that you, too, relax. You may look a little silly sometimes while you take pictures of your own kissy-faced mug, but why do you care so much about looking silly? It’s 2015, friends, and it’s a selfie world. You may as well enjoy it.