Articles

Selfie Companionship

by Alicia Eler on January 27, 2014

Spotted on the street in West Hollywood, where everyone can become selfie famous.

Spotted on the street in West Hollywood, where everyone can become selfie famous (photo by the author for Hyperallergic)

LOS ANGELES — Whether you like your selfies singular and meditative or coupled and cozy, there’s always an opportunity to see yourselfie anew. This week’s post examines a particular breed of companion selfies — or group selfies, if you prefer — that consist of two humans or a human and an animal together. But, before we get to this week’s curated submissions, there’s selfie news to report.

Artist Robbie Jones created the #selfieNYC project to encourage New Yorkers and tourists alike to take selfies in public places. Jones hung some 40 mirrors with the text “take a picture #selfieNYC” in vinyl lettering at the bottom in spots around the city, including various subway stations, Times Square, Wall Street, and Soho. “This piece started as an experiment in using social media based on the trend of selfies,” he told Hyperallergic. “I wanted to capture not only the person, but their surroundings and see how they would react to these mirrors just put up on the street.” When he began the project, there were fewer than 10 selfies on Instagram tagged with “#selfieNYC.” That number has since increased to around 600, not all of them taken in his mirrors. The project will go on as long as people keep taking pictures and tagging them with #selfieNYC, and all of the photos appear on selfiesnyc.com.

On January 22, the internet and museums across the world celebrated Museum Selfie Day, when museumgoers were encouraged to shoot selfies with artworks and artifacts. My favorites involved people helping inanimate objects such as skeletons, a William Shakespeare doll, and museum mascots take their very own selfies. It’s time to suspend selfie disbelief. Even though the official #museumselfie day is over, the Museum Selfies blog offers a fine ongoing collection.

And these cat selfies are making their way around the web right now, creating a fierce rivalry with previous ‘net celebrities LOLcats. Who do you want to share that special selfie moment with? This week’s selfie submitters tell us.

Steve Duffy

Steve Duffy's married selfie

Steve Duffy’s married selfie

Occupation: Being married
Location: New Zealand

Steve Duffy’s “Married Selfie” appeared in the Hyperallergic selfies email inbox without an explanation, so I wrote back and asked for one.

“We were twin screening on the couch, together and apart, as you are, when out of boredom I took this shot,” writes Steve. “In truth we were joking and laughing only minutes before, and I laughted a lot afterwards. We hardly see ourselves as dissolute couch sitters, but here we are distracted and disengaged. Perhaps this is how we look to others most of the time.

“Toni [Steve’s wife] finds the shot offensive. I find it hilarious. Are appearances deceptive?”

A day later, he wrote again: “Toni said to tell you that we’re newly married. It’s Friday night, and we expected more from life. I should add that she forbade me from putting it on Facebook but was OK about some foreign art blog getting their hands on it.”

Jessica Licciardi

Jessica's selfie with cat

Jessica’s cat photobombs her selfie – MREOW!

Occupation: Preschool teacher
Location: Hopewell, New Jersey

“My cat says haters gonna hate (I totally hate her for saying that). Look, she insists, artists have been doing selfies for years. (Rembrandt, hello!) She explains that her photo bomb is an explosion of intensity challenging the viewer, with her piercing stare and her flipping-the-bird-at-all-you-cat-haters tongue. She says the human (that’s me!) in the foreground making a kissy duck face represents the conflicted masses; desiring, demanding and obsessing over an object that can easily document and preserve the story of their lives, while mocking the humans who use it so. Actually, I wasn’t trying to represent anything. I was making a kissy duck face just BECAUSE.”

Chris Cobb

Chris Cobb's cat selfie

Chris Cobb’s cat selfie

Occupation: Artist and writer
Location: New York City

“Of my three cats, he is the one that most resembles a wild animal. He doesn’t like to be touched too much or petted. When he is angry he poops on the ground where he knows you will walk. Once in a while he simply comes up to me and stares silently, as if he feels I understand whatever statement his silence is making. We have an agreement: as long as he is fed on time everything is fine. It took six attempts to get him to be still enough for this picture.”

Magalie Guerin & Jeff Newcomb

Jeff's selfies to Magalie

A collection of Jeff’s selfies to Magalie

Magalie’s occupation: Artist and adjunct teacher
Jeff’s occupation: Web developer
Location: Chicago

Every morning on the way to work, Magalie Guerin’s boyfriend, Jeff Newcomb, sends her a selfie. When Magalie sent me the iPhoto collection of these 50-odd photographs, I asked her what the deal was. Rather than tell me herself, she asked Jeff, and together they decided what this was about. Here’s an excerpt of their Facebook message conversation about why Jeff sends these selfies:

Jeff: I’ve begun to arrange my morning commute around [the selfies] as well. Is there time before the bus arrives? Should I wait until I get to the train platform? Should I use a familiar background or look for something new?

Magalie: I love seeing that there are days when you have the confidence to be more creative, other when you have the confidence to be more familiar — it’s all very real. Please don’t stop.

Jeff: I don’t plan to, just don’t get sick of my face!

Magalie: I don’t plan to — love

Jeff: love!

*   *   *

Email Hyperallergic your selfie at selfies [at] hyperallergic.com, along with a brief explanation of why you shot it and what it means to you.

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