The art of taking selfies

I’ve been very fortunate over the years to have a number of women choose to send me virtual gifts – photos, videos, audio. I’ve written about how a woman’s voice is pretty much a sure-fire test of whether I’ll be attracted to her. A close second, though, is her selfie game.

Reddit (the front page of the internet) has a forum (really, a “subreddit”) called r/selfies, devoted to a combination of face pics and full-body shots. It’s also got a whole series of less SFW versions of this, ranging from r/gonemild – PG-rated but teasing shots – to r/gonewild – often, crude hardcore porn. What all these have in common, sadly, is a paucity of selfie game. There’s very little artistry and very little… subtlety. It’s as if everyone’s photos were taken in all caps.

A quality selfie – whether of the face, a part of the body, or the whole body – makes use of basic photographic principles with which I – not a photographer – am nonetheless at least cursorily familiar. Composition, for example: it matters what’s in the picture – and what’s not in the picture. Framing: how the subject of the picture relates to other, less central elements. Lighting. Background. Focus/depth of field. All this matters. A lot. Never mind the pose itself. (Also? What seems to me self-evident, but apparently isn’t: toilets don’t belong in selfies. Neither do children. Or pets. Or dirty laundry. Or food. Or garbage.)

If you send me a selfie, I promise I will take at least as much time to appreciate as you do to execute it.

Selfie criticism: this selfie is, currently, included in the “top selfies of the month” in r/selfies:

I’m not here to objectify the person in the selfie (who says they’re 21 in the post). But boy, what a shitty picture. The sink? The toilet paper? The fact that the person in the picture is manifestly, objectively, looking in the wrong place? That their posture communicates an indifference not just to the camera, but to the entire project at hand?

Compare to these two:

In each of these, the person is, clearly, what we’re looking at. There’s other stuff, but some combination of distance, focus, and lighting call our attention to the person in the picture – a person who has, clearly, given some thought to how they want to project themselves.

Anyway: end of screed. I like a good selfie.