Hold Up, Let Me Take a Selfie

I can't even lie, when I first heard that we were going to be talking about selfies in class this week as a part of digital art, the very first thing I thought about was this song...

Now, I may or I may not have been in a bar when this was playing and ordering another round of shots. I don't exactly recall. Anyway, after I sung the chorus of this song a few times I checked out Kellie's blog and read the the suggested articles. Halfway through her super insightful blog, I began to consider selfies differently.

Initially, when I thought about selfies I thought about it as vanity thing. If you looked cute, then you take a selfie. If you post a lot of selfies then you really think you look good.

Nothing more.
Nothing less.

If you would've asked me before last Tuesday, that is what I would've declared as the long and the short definition of a selfie. However, after our in class Twitter chat this past Tuesday, I have a slightly broader outlook on selfies. Kellie asked us some excellent questions that each commented on extensively. It was really hard to keep up with the new questions.

One question in particular that I thought a lot about was Q2:

According to art Historian Geoffrey Batchen, selfies represent, "the shift of the photograph from memorial function to a communication device." Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Why?

I never thought about the function of selfies before. I honestly, believed that they served no other purpose except for sending subliminal messages to your intended and unintended audience. Then Kellie hits us Q3:

What message does the selfie convey? Does/can it convey one? And, how does that message function in our current culture?

Now, I believe selfies tells you a lot about a person. That is why as a wife, a mom and a teacherI am very aware about the type of selfies I post online. Especially since my students have been able to find me and some of my posted photos without being my friend on any social media site. The manner in which selfies function in our current culture is something I'm aware of even if I have never given it much thought. Taking selfies is just something that we do. You take a selfie. You don't need to wait for someone else to take your picture. You look good, you take a picture even if no one is around because you can share that picture with however far your social media hand will reach.

All of my selfies have SnapChat filters these days. Blame motherhood. 
Interestingly enough, my children were with me in class. I shared with the class that my youngest daughter was born then introduced to the world on Facebook. She has never given me her permission, yet I've shared most of her life with my 300 plus Facebook friends. I am not certain how she will feel about that. She likes it now and it's all fun and games now. I do wonder what the ramifications -- if any will be. I'm sure I will find out one day.

Either way, when I think about my own selfies and what they convey, most of my selfies are not of myself alone. I am with one or both of my girls and sometimes my husband-- he's not a fan of selfies. So, what does that say about me? It says is that I love my girls. I love my husband and my family. Or does it say I want to the world to think I'm such a doting wife and mother? And I am all about my family and my children? Living in the world that is always looking for the hidden meaning in something many people have become cynical and they think that what we show the world isn't really who we are.
I believe that may be true for some people. And I also admit to crafting my "selfie image", but because I want to protect what I project into the world. Understanding full well that my social media footprint will be what future generations will use to determine who I was when I was here.

In Beyonce's song, "I Was Here" she says, "I want to leave my footprint in the sands of time. Know that there was something that meant something that I left behind."

For the most part, this deep academic dive into the meaning behind the selfie really made me reconsider my own urge to take and share selfies. The conclusion that I came to is that this is a work in progress. We really won't realize the affect until we've lived through social experiment a little more.

In other selfie news, we did Google Arts. I kept trying to find an image that I thought looked like me. Nothing satisfied my own self perception. But I suppose these images came close. Feel free to be the judge.

These pictures are proof as to why I only take pictures with filters. I have no time to do my makeup these days. And boy do I look tired.

Last but not least, my DDA's. I try to do the ones that speak to me and this week, these are the ones that I did. I couldn't have done more if I tried this week. I had a rough week. But I was able to complete my two and not because I had to. I wanted to.

Notice how poor Benji is running away!

Well, I felt it was only fitting that I ended this blog with a selfie... and in the spirit of Black History Month and the Black Panther movie premiere weekend. #WakandaForever !

Selfie with my girls after seeing Black Panther 



  1. I'm overjoyed to read how the twitter chat generated some more thought about selfies. They seem simple and easy to judge, but like many things we do, there's much more nuanced. They Chainsmokers video (oh the autotune) does play up the stereotype of selfies as being a vain thing to do.

    As someone not on Snapchat I wonder in seeing yours and others if he silliness of the filters is a way of being clear that you are not taking yourself so seriously? There is nothing at wrong of course (and is quite right to have fun with these things).

    And I see nothing but joy in the Black Panther photo- how awesome was the movie? I don't have a theater close to me, so I rarely get to see new releases.

    At the same time, we have a certain intent when we post these images but it's never quite clear how many different ways that it might be interpreted. Mostly, I bet we shrug it off, as we are generally sure the meaning behind the image.

    I'm not seeing what you did for the #SelfieUnselfie project, hope it was done.

  2. Hi Steph!!!

    I'm glad my questions helped prompt such insightful responses! I know I was blown away by how deeply other people are thinking about selfies. It made me wonder about my own and about the subliminal messages, like you say, that I'm sending. More, it made me wonder about what messages I could be sending if I really tried.

    That said, I do also wonder if we look too deeply at things at times and make a big deal out of something that wasn't intended to inspire that kind of reaction. We live in a culture today that is ready and willing to burn people at the stake without much instigation....

    It is fun to think about how we craft our not only ourselves but the perceptions of ourselves we want, both intentionally and not.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your selfies--I love them <3 You and your family are beautiful (what dark circles???) ;)


    1. You're way too kind Kelli! And you're right about us looking too deeply into things. I feel that the internet and social media in general have made us evaluate things a little too much. So that could be an issue within itself. You're right, we should just look at the fun in it.


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