Exploring The Art of Selfies For A Week

Selfies seem to get such a bad rep these days.The equation often seems to be: The more selfies you take = The more vain you are.

Goodness knows how many blog posts and articles I've read that mock selfies and the people who take them. I've never really tried to defend the whole selfie movement, even though I've started taking selfies even before the word 'selfie' was officially a 'thing'.

Well, okay, not quite as far back as Colin Powell's vintage selfie, but definitely long before Ellen De Generes' celebrity-packed Twitter-breaking selfie. Late 2007/early 2008, to be precise. When I got my first DSLR and decided that the best way to learn photography was to take photos of my most available model - myself.

The thing is, none of us smartphone-wielding/DSLR-snapping folk really invented this selfie thing. Two of the artists I admire a lot have used self portraiture to explore their art - Frida Kahlo and Vincent Van Gogh. And, I know that they're not the only artists who have ventured into selfie territory to express themselves.

Frida Kahlo and Vincent Van Gogh "Selfies"

Frida Kahlo and Vincent Van Gogh "Selfies"

"But, but, but... That's different! That's art!" Some of you might say.

Indeed. But then, whenever we take photos - whatever the subject might be: our cat, our lunch, our kids, or ourselves - it is a form of art. Perhaps, not Art with a capital A... You know, those types of Art that belong in museums and galleries.  But, they are OUR art. And, just like any art form - it's the creation that matters. If others appreciate the art, great. If not, they can move on.

In this age of social media, it's an important skill that we need to master: The ability to look at content and appreciate those that resonate with us, and move past those that don't without driving us crazy. And since we can't control what other people share, we have to learn how to control our own reactions to what other people post on their social networks.

But, I digress.

The whole point of this post, really, is to welcome you to a new Daily Week-long Challenge of the Month. And, as you probably can tell, I'm dedicating the month of April to "Selfies".

I haven't taken a lot of selfies lately, as I haven't really been inspired to do so. Especially since I've given up doing 365s and other self-portraiture challenges. Sometimes, I'd take a selfie, just to remember a moment or an outfit. But, nothing like I've done in  my early selfie days - where I set-up an idea and work with a concept or a technical challenge in photography.

Since April is my 'birth month' - and I'm celebrating a big milestone this year (yes, the dreaded big 4-0!) - I thought doing a daily selfie challenge during my 'birthday week' (1st April to 7th April) is a good way to mark the last days of my 39th year and the first days of a new decade of my life.

But, I don't want these selfies just to be any 'vanity selfie'. I don't want them to be just about showing or depicting glamour or beauty. Though, hopefully, some of them would show something beautiful. My goal is to find the art in the selfie again - in a Kahlo-esque/Van Gogh-esque style. But, with MY stamp, MY approach, of course. Most of these selfies would likely be in the form of digital photography, due to ease and speed. But, if I get the opportunity, I'd love to explore the idea of painting/drawing or doing another mixed media selfies too (like this).

In any case, I'll be posting my attempts via the usual social networks, and hope to do a round-up post later some time. I hope you'll join me!

365 Days - Day 1 - 1st Jan 08

My first "official" selfie, taken 1 January 2008, for my very first attempt at 365 Days challenge. It was "Explored" on Flickr.



About the Author Shai Coggins

Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.

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