Throughout the history of photography, there are only a few things that have been shot since the beginning - landscapes, families (the ones that you are born with and the ones that you choose), and portraits. Recently, a new type of photography has emerged thanks to smart phones. “Selfies” are becoming more common in day-to-day media than landscapes and family shots. Since we take and share images that we find interesting and important, what does it show when less pictures are taken of other people and places, and more are taken of the “self?” It shows that people are more encouraged to pay more attention to “me” rather than interesting things and other people.*
Selfies also have a general style that separates them from self-portraits. In selfies, the person usually is centered and takes up most of the frame. In art, we call that “hierarchy of scale” where the most important thing is the largest. So when someone’s face takes up the entire frame, it shows that they are more important than anything else in the image. Self portraits tend to be more formal or expressive and shot from further away. Selfies are normally taken when the person feels particularly attractive, and for some reason they feel the need to share that with other people. Why is attractiveness so praised in today’s society that we need to capture, share, and preserve it above other things?
I’m not saying that it’s wrong to feel attractive and show off a little bit, but it is dangerous when that becomes how you find value and worth. When you put too much value in how good you look, you’re setting yourself up for failure, and you’re missing on a lot of life. You could be setting yourself up for failure because if you look bad (and we all have days where we look rough) it means that you’ve having a bad day or that you’re unsuccessful. I don’t think that it should be that way.
Society, especially the media and music industry say “it’s all about you” and “make yourself happy.” However, I’d like to argue that it’s not about “me,” there’s a much bigger picture that I’m only a small part of. Within this big picture, happiness is not something that I achieve for myself, it’s a choice that I try to make regardless of circumstance, even if it’s hard choice. I’ve found that when I look for what makes my life great, and how I can make other people’s life better - it’s easier for me to be happy.
What would happen if you focused more on what makes your life great? What if, instead of concentrating on yourself, you concentrated on the people, things, and places that make your life good? Share that with other people - and maybe it will remind them of what makes their life great as well.
The Thanksgiving Challenge
Post 5 images on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, or Instagram that show what you are thankful for.
You must include at least one person, one place, and one thing.
No selfies, unless it's with someone else!
Tag it with #thanksgiving5
Today, I'll be posting images on here and Facebook.
Saturday, I'll post some of your images on here.
One more note - the line between bragging and being thankful is very thin. Try to stay on the side of being thankful, it’s less annoying.
*Selfies with other people are a different story because they tend emphasize relationships.