A few months ago I tried to write a post about an argument I had with my BFF.
Now when I say “argument,” I don’t mean a “fight,” but one of the many intellectual sparring matches we have under the influence of too much whiskey. If communications is our love language, debates are our sex.
This particular argument started when she told me that our (extremely talented and amazing) IG influencer friend wanted me to shoot with her, knowing I’ll say “no.” She specializes in the beat-faced/glamour shot thing and that’s not my vibe. Additionally, I loathe posing for photos.
But, as my BFF pointed out, that loathing doesn’t include self-portraits.
My Jameson-addled brain tried to express that I’m not a model. I don’t respond well to direction (not
just because I’m stubborn, but my brain-body connection is a little slow to process). When I’m taking photos of myself, I pose according to the lines I see in my front-facing camera. If there’s an instinct there, it’s an artistic one, not the muscle memory of someone who knows their angles without seeing them.
Unfortunately, I did not get that across. At all. We just ended up screaming about muscle memory in front of an extremely concerned bartender before I finally huffed a loud “Well, I’m not doing it and that’s that” re: the initial request.
I’m glad I didn’t write that post. It was angry and full of “I’m more high-minded than selfie culture” nonsense. But I thought of it yesterday when I read “Selfie Culture is Ruining Tourist Attractions“.
It’s about what it says it’s about: people clogging tourist attractions with their made-for-Instagram photo shoots instead of being present with whatever they’re observing. It reads like “Get off my lawn” because it is, but I wholeheartedly agree. I, too, am a person waiting to snap a photo of a cool fountain while some poor schmuck contorts himself into downward facing dog to capture his girl’s best angles.(2)
It was in my comment on that post that I found the thesis of my argument with my best friend.
Photos, for me, are another form of writing. Even when I’m the subject, I’m presenting a point of view. It’s not look at me. It’s look at how I see myself.
And to the point I made in theycallmetater‘s comments, I can appreciate beauty in the world without needing to insert myself in it.
For instance, I snapped the below pic while waiting for a friend to finish up in the restroom. When I posted it, she said the following:
Now, this is NOT a knock on my homegirl. I adore her and she didn’t respond any differently than most of my friends would. See dope thing in the wild. Make it a backdrop.
That’s just not my instinct. I’m not saying I snuck the photo while she was in the bathroom on purpose. But boy, was I glad I did when I saw her comment. The last thing that wall inspired in me was a desire to pose.
I hope you don’t think I’m “better than” selfie culture. I’m really not. I own a tripod, for Rh’llor’s sake. I’m good for passing my reflection at home and seeing a photo.
But when I’m in the world, I want to BE in the world. And when it comes to seeing myself…
I’m not interested in your point of view.
So, that’s my spiel. A pretentious I’m an artist take made no less pretentious by the time I took to organize my thoughts.
(1) re: the title …I respect the shooter.
(2) This, they tell me, is love. Another check in the “Uninterested” column for ya girl.