Emma has graciously agreed to appear in yet another one of my blog posts, one that was inspired by a recent photo she posted on Twitter [not this one] of a photo taken while she was attending a gathering for Spencer Tunick’s “Sea of Hull” exhibition in which she had taken part.
When I travel, I basically never take a “selfie” using cell phone and mirror. Yet, I find that selfies such as created by Emma, are important markers of life, life as we see it and experience it. Selfies are acts of defiance stating “I am here and I am now!” They are also acts of self-validation and acceptance. We get to see ourselves exposed and vulnerable, captured in an image, perhaps with an honesty that we would rather remain blind.
Following the gift of Emma’s photo, I decided to try a similar one in my home with the following results. This is a different viewpoint, a different side of me exposed. I notice that with both Emma’s and my photos, there is no “sexual” aspect that is evident. Selfies most often betray, unintentionally or intentionally, our existence as sexual beings.
We think we know exactly who we are, yet we constantly surprise ourselves as we learn more about our hidden, unexposed parts – physiological and psychological. Selfies are experiments based on our curiosity about ourselves. What will we see? What will others see? How will we respond to our exposed self? How will others respond?
And then we turn around, look at ourselves directly, more familiar with what we see. Clothed or bare, we control the message of what is exposed beneath the surface of our being. At least, that is what we believe.
What others see is limited and coloured by their psychological filters. We have no control over these things. Those filters are built with personal history, whether it be within the family or within our societies. Those filters claim to be rational, but there is nothing rational about filters which prevent us from seeing simple and objective reality.
Looking at our own selfies and the selfies of others allow us to confront the filters, allow us to question what it is, exactly, that we see in these images. If only, we ask questions.