All the young people I know with digital cameras love taking pictures of
I don't get it. I've spent a lifetime destroying pictures of myself, and
they can't get enough.
They extend the arm out just so, frame the picture tight so the arm doesn't
show, strike a pose and click.
There's the self-portrait in front of the potted palm, the self-portrait in
the car, the self-portrait at school and the self-portrait that is crooked
and completely out of focus.
They have the posing down to a science. There's the mock surprise pose, the
dramatic over-the-shoulder pose, the me-with-my-beloved-animal pose, the
me-with my computer game pose, the me-brooding-in-the-shadows pose, and the
me with this-this-giant-smile made possible by the braces my parents paid
That last one is my favorite.
The benefit of taking your own portraits is that the camera never catches
you off guard and you can delete the awful ones in an instant.
We were at a family get-together recently when one of the girls walked into
the front yard, sat down in the grass, stretched out her arm and snapped a
picture of herself smiling next to a big ADT sign.
Why? Because she can.
Excuse me if I pass on the 8-by-10.
It's like having your own portable photo booth where you can make goofy
pictures of yourself 24/7, then send them in e-mails to friends or upload
them to the Internet.
Me with my sister making faces.
Me with my brother's dog making faces.
Me without the restraints of home, drinking directly from the milk jug.
The New York Times reports that the popularity of the self-portrait is
unprecedented in the history of the snapshot. One researcher reviewed more
than 100,000 pictures of 17 years from 500 families and found fewer than
Today you can find 100 self-portraits on a single digital camera belonging
to your average 16-year-old.
We have done our part to add to the rapid proliferation of snapshots. We
have 23 large photo albums crowded on bookshelves and, in the corner of the
family room, a pile of snapshots so high they form their own little leaning
Tower of Pisa. To put them in albums would first require adding on to the
It's an easy trap to fall into. Photos from a wedding these days
can number 1,000. There is the bride, the groom and infinite combinations
of the happy couple with bridesmaids, groomsmen, family members, guests,
the catering crew and the parking attendants.
Pictures legitimize an event and prove we were really there. We
came, we saw, we clicked.
The kids are so picture-dependent they even store them in cell phones. A
call comes in and they see the name of the person calling, the phone number
of the person calling and a picture of the person calling. All that just to
decide they'll call them back later.
With a little coaching, I tried doing one of those digital camera
self-portraits myself. It's called the helicopter shot. You hold the camera
up high, throw your head back and look up into the lens. It's a pose that
causes all those little wrinkles in your neck to automatically disappear.
I may have been too quick to criticize.