Self Portraiture 2.0

February 17, 2005

There are probably millions of photographs online showing a person taking their own picture in the mirror. Many of them have a massive glow of white where the flash reflected in the mirror and obliterated all other reflections. When I see such images I'm always reminded of the throngs of people firing off flash bulbs in the Louvre with the hopes of taking home their own postcard picture of the Mona Lisa*— didn't they know that nothing would come of such images. At best they could hope for a poorly composed ball of white light radiating from behind the rows of heads also jostling for the same useless photograph.

* * * * *

While chatting with a salesperson at the Apple store one day he revealed his utter disgust with the iSight camera that had been placed on every Mac,** for it made his work day a living hell. Countless adolescents would stroll into the store to camp-out on the demo computers and take dozens of crummy digital photographs of themselves. This was often accompanied by hours of incessant high-pitched chatter, silly faces, and giggling. The mall had provided yet another avenue to foster vapid narcassism among tomorrow's future leaders. . . and this, in some great degree, is what passes for the next chapter in the history of self portraiture.

* * * * *

So I'm a hypocrite, right? At the top of this post is my image in the mirror. I've posted it on the net for all to see. And without any context it's probably as easily dismissed as any other online portrait. 

Some context is in order. You should know that on this night I was at a loss for what to film. I didn't see the point of the daily project. The TV was buzzing on the ground level of the house and I was alone upstairs trying to justify this creative endeavor that had no relevance to anything I'd done before. And I was very, very, tired. I stared at myself in the mirror and my neck muscles began to spasm. My eyes burned. I started to sob.

And I turned the camera on.

*Or, whatever passes for the Mona Lisa, as theories abound about the authenticity of the image on display behind layers of glass at the Louvre.

**This ties in nicely with a topic I've broached before. . .


Turner said...

I have it on excellent authority that the Mona Lisa in the Louvre was actually painted by Napoleon and is a a rather faithless reproduction of his missus. The real Mona Lisa meanwhile can be found in a newsagents in Cardiff where the proprietor uses it to attract Japanese tourists, known to love the Welsh capital, to his postcard stand.

Jeffrey T. Baker said...

That all seems about as plausible as a good Dan Brown novel.

Turner said...

I have it further, on equally good authority, that Dan Brown IS the newsagent in Cardiff.