What people so derisively call a “selfie” these days, I still refer to as a self-portrait. I’ve been taking them for as long as I can remember, even in the days of disposable cameras. I don’t see what all the hatred is about.
Why not chronicle your life through the click of a shutter? If no one else is around to take your picture and you think you look good, or funny, or whatever, why not snap that photo of yourself? What is the big deal?!
Here are some of my all-time favorite self-portraits and the circumstances under which they occurred.
Me. circa 2003
This is from the journal my cousin Kerry gave me for Christmas in my senior year of high school. While 2003 was not before the advent of cell phones, it was before the advent of the “selfie” term. As you can see, that didn’t matter to me, and I donned a floppy sun hat in the middle of January in my childhood bedroom and snapped away with my mom’s digital camera.
Me, circa 2004
Shortly after my freshman year of college, I remember going self-portrait crazy one humid summer night. This was #11 of a 12 piece series chronicling my up-and-down moods.
Me and Samantha, circa 2006
Ah, the summer of 2006: still the best summer of my life. The world was my oyster. I had turned 21 in March, was working 4pm-8pm everyday, and could do whatever I wanted with the rest of my time. I had moved into a single in my dorm and was relishing the privacy. This was taken at Our House (West or East, I don’t remember which is which) in Allston around Samantha’s 21st birthday. That night was one for the books.
Me, circa 2008
Taken around the weekend of our five-year high school reunion, which most high schools don’t have!
Me, circa 2009, and my favorite photo of all time
This was taken the first time I house-sat for some friends, and it’s my favorite photo of myself – EVER. This is the photo I’ll show my kids when I want to prove I was young and beautiful once.
Me, circa 2009
Here I am, playing with the Christmas lights in my Ayer apartment. This was before Erik and I made it official and after a string of weird heartbreaks.
Me, circa 2011
I thought I looked nice one day so I snapped a photo in the mirror. I remember walking down Route 85 in Marlborough dressed like this, but I couldn’t tell you where we were going that day. Was it a date? I have no idea, but this reminds me so much of my good friend Melissa!
Me and Chris, circa 2012
Hiking selfie! Two sisters on their way to Mount Monadnock. The biggest thing I remember about this car ride was that Chris had to meet us at the Boroughs Family Branch in Westborough (a 45- to 50-minute drive from her home), and on our way to New Hampshire, we drove by the Hubbardston exit on Route 2 and both cringed… like, “Couldn’t you just have picked up Chris on the way?!” That was an epic winter hike, and one of the best memories I have with my sister.
Me, circa 2012
Wedding make-up trials! Since I decided to do my own make-up for our wedding, I knew I needed to take a bunch of photos to see how I’d look in all different angles and all different facial expressions. This was an example of a dead-on, calm shot.
Me, circa 2013
Aww… two crazy kids on their honeymoon! This was taken January 14, 2013 – one day after our wedding – when we arrived at the Anchor-In Hotel in Hyannis. We had just enough daylight left to try our hand at taking some outdoor photos. We got to Cape Cod so late because we stopped at the Wrentham Outlets on the way and bought way too much stuff. Hell, we were so excited about our wedding that it just didn’t seem to matter!
Me, circa 2013
An early June day on Wingaersheek Beach, Gloucester. We stopped at my in-laws’ house where they so graciously let us borrow their beach gear, and we headed off into the gray, dismal-looking day. Well, halfway through this gray day, the sun came out and we discovered sun or no sun, we were already extremely sunburned. It was also the first time I had worn a bikini confidently in public since 2004 or so.
Me, circa 2013
My first time in Rocky Mountain National Park, and I was extremely in love with my surroundings. This was post-flood, October Estes Park – nearly deserted. If you look closely, you can see Erik in the side mirror, scavenging for Colorado rocks. This was the day after my interview in my current position, and I never wanted to leave this magical place. Luckily, I only had to take a “leave of absence” and moved out permanently two-and-a-half months later.
Me, circa 2014
Finally, our doggy makes an appearance! Lady got excited halfway through this portrait session and voiced her enthusiasm in the most adorable way.
Me, Deanna and Brett, circa 2014
Finally, here is the last truly great self-portrait I have. It was Brett’s idea, so I suppose I can’t really call it a self-portrait, but you get the idea. We were chillin’ at the Stanley, drinking our designer cocktails outside on a chilly-yet-mild October night. This is one of my favorite memories: saying bon voyage to Deanna as she left for the Netherlands, truly wishing Brett the best of luck in his new endeavors, and wondering what the future would hold for both of them.
Well, there you have it: a history of Joanna chronicled in self-portraits (selfies, if you insist). Own your self-portraits – they are a part of you that tell a story to the world, and a part of you that describe this crazy 21st century we’re living in.