Self Portrait vs. Selfie

I take a lot of selfies, but before cell phones, they were called "self-portraits." Selfies now are meant to make other people feel bad about where they are or what they are eating or who they are with by saying "I'm better than you...I'm at a fabulous location while you aren't...I'm eating a 5-course pasta tasting menu at Babbo while you have microwaved leftover Chinese." Am I right? :) From 1988 - 1989, I took self-portraits for photography class. They evolved from an assignment that restricted use of one roll of film for one object. 24 or 36 pictures in a roll, give or take. I used my flannel shirt in clever compositions, but I wasn't happy with the images feeling emotionally disconnected.  I then turned the camera on me. Self-timed, staged and sometimes serious, I looked to communicate something personal and internal. Looking back, it was a real challenge as a closeted gay man trying to both reveal and hide yourself at the same time. I've always been overly self-critical (as well as of others!) and these pictures tried to shine a light on all the internal critical thoughts. "Idiot for trying" "Am I in Focus?" "Shit, I moved" were obvious ones. 

I also made an effort to be a good boy, perhaps to compensate for the bad person I thought I was. I tried to do right by everyone and everything. I worked hard at any job I could get and basically said to the world that I can adapt to any expectation of me.  That was part of this series of disguises. 

These were inspired by Jessica Wurtzel's double exposures that I loved. They focused on attempts of capturing the un self-conscious. I woke up early and took some of the photos before a shower to see if the real me would come out. 

I created my own "Garden of Eden", complete with plants and apple painting, and used a cigarette to turn from good boy painter to ashamed nude. I didn't print a lot of them, but maybe one day they'll move from the contact sheet.

Sometimes, I'd let others take pics of me, but always in character as someone else. 

More self exploration. I think it's a great thing to do, always check in with yourself and see who you are, what are you doing, and who are you doing it for.