Creative Self-Portraits

As a photographer, I am rarely happy with photos of myself. I prefer to be behind the camera rather than in front of it. Perhaps that is a natural response.

So now that we are in the age of the selfie, I have to wonder if I’m alone in my feeling about having photos of myself? It seems that everywhere I go, people are doing selfies.

Not only are they doing selfies everywhere, but it would also appear that they don’t leave the house without thinking about being in front of a camera.

Is this Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame spinning out of control? And all for the sake of showing the world how fashionable you are on Instagram. Am I missing the point? Very likely.

Double Me, New York City, August 2016

I on the other hand, have quite a few self-portraits that are either shadows or reflections. I especially like abstract self-portraits. It is possible that the viewer may not even be aware that the photo is of me.

If you are aware of a good reason for all these selfies that are going on everywhere, please do enlighten me. In the meantime I will label it narcissism.

There’s No Going Backwards

Art does not exist to repeat or return to the past. It is always about moving forward. Whether art influences culture or culture influences art is like asking if the egg came first or the chicken.

Photography has many roles in our culture. For me it’s always about a creative pursuit. Photography is an art even if we don’t always think of it that way.

Museums and galleries still persist in using the terms art & photography as if they are not one and the same. Perhaps that has something to do with the fact that photography is still rather young.

Regardless, the world keeps turning, culture changes and I continue to move forward. If I am no longer able to find a way to evolve my art then it will be an indication that it’s time for me to put my cameras away.

But I don’t foresee that happening any time in the near future. There’s always something new to explore and ways to expand even if progress sometimes appears to happen slowly.

In art there is no going backwards and repeating the old. That reminds me of all the reunion bands who come back to play their old music from 50 years ago. If I do that, please let me know. No turning back time. As if we could. Here’s to the future of art!

The Age of Narcissism

This is, if you haven’t noticed, the age of narcissism. I fail to understand why it is that so many people feel a need to be constantly photographing themselves everywhere they go and everything they do.

I mostly witness this on the streets in New York City. Certainly a number of them are tourists. That’s not an excuse. But it is also just as many people who live here. Everywhere, no exaggeration, there’s someone doing their selfie.

People dress and style themselves for their selfies. Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame has perhaps been taken too literally. What do you do with hundreds of selfies? Yes, you share them on social media. And yes, it is with the expectation that it will receives thousands of likes.

Self-portrait with Rauschenberg, The Museum of Modern Art, 2017

I’ve never really liked photos of myself. I prefer to be behind the camera. Not in front of it. However, I do take the occasional self-portrait. That is to say that they are creative.

I ask myself and you, what is the purpose of all these selfies? It was said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Certainly, that is better than a thousand likes.

But now it seems a photo’s worth is in hashtags. Can you manage to get the attention of others in the age of selfies and attention deficient disorder?

Don’t even get me started on all the people who have died attempting to get their perfect selfie. Narcissus has competition. You won’t find me in that demographic.