Taming of the Selfie

“Head Shot – needed for profile.”

I hadn’t heard that phrase flung my way in quite a while; a 25 year while.

Never liked the things. Never expected to need another one. Ever.

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Dear Friends,

Do you have any idea how hard it is to take a selfie?

Two hours and fifteen minutes. Uh, huh. I’ve been explaining for a while, that although my pictures reflect near complete baldness, I do in fact actually have hair. Very fine hair, but there’s enough of it to get messed up in the wind so it counts.

One hour and twenty  minutes into the how-hard-can-this-be selfie suffering, I stopped worrying about my hair (or lack thereof) and starting hoping for just one missing an expression of possession. I mean seriously strange eyes.  Dually a victim of circumstance and admitted over-eying, I’m absolutely confident that I have (pictures-taken percentage wise,) surpassed Sir Harley of Perpetual Surprise with my wide-eyed level of shock at absolutely nothing.  I was truly just attempting to avoid the blink.

I must either be an older model of form or an anomaly possessing disproportionate arms. Bottom line: mine are simply not long enough evidenced by missing chins and the removal of that pitifully fine hairline that barely show up, anyway. I trial-and-error landed on a revelation regarding above head poses. Appropriate but still semi-distorted, the elbowed angle determines a corresponding head tilt.

Still, like the last hold-out microwave kernel of corn, more problems popped. How do you keep your elbow from elbowing in or a shoulder crease from announcing obvious buff-less biceps? I suspect some sort of cheat is involved in the process. There has to be a third hand launching the click. Otherwise, everyone would have sprained fingers and tight gripping claw hand residue.

Let me also mention the whole mirror, backwards, go left to go right thing? Yeah, that wasn’t a cake walk, either. The rapid neck-lash routine left me slightly more off balance than usual. At this point I decided to sit for safety, and continued the ego shattering shuttering.

Meanly, cartoon mode isn’t available for selfies. Undeterred, I retry all of the above approaches. All I achieve are arm cramps and a few faintly-fine, low-grade Warhol-ish, but won’t be mistaken for one, images. Due to twist and burn, I’m counting the arm stretches as exercise. It’s also possible that I’ve just invented Photo-Yoga. Momentarily distracted by the possibilities of funky feline portraits, I’m a little bummed to find the cats come out better; especially when annoyed. Raised hackles and alert ears create great contrast and light-play differentiations

Click, click, click. I supposed I could de-sound the clicker. It can already be classified as gone past starting to annoy me. Not even close to the  musically enhanced rapid fire intro of Duran Duran’s Girls on Film, my sounds are more guttural. Click, grumble, click, soft-explicative, click, whoops dropped the phone, click, for goodness sake, click, click, click.

The clicking seems to be getting to Miss Freddie, too. She seems a little “I’m plotting something” more than normal. I’m familiar with her squint of slotted eyes and thin lip fang reveal. It turns out I can smile scary, too. In embarrassing desperation, I conjured up laughter as if I was laughing at a joke. My eyes were no longer staring wide. They disappeared entirely. As added insult, my mouth takes on a dreadful twist. I re-file that wonderful idea under woeful fail, and sigh. Ok. Good to know. I’m pretty sure it’s a little late to outgrow that.

Shooting below while looking down ended up producing a completely creepy cautioning I was about to charge and possibly maul with (as of yet) still hidden horns, probably, because I was feeling that way. In a flashbulb moment, I imagined a charge and mall situation where I might possibly convince JC Penney to let me use one of those kid portrait deals.

107 poses later, two pairs of glasses, above the head, below the head, lying down (disaster), over the shoulder, giving up… the giving up one is actually cute, but not at all “Head Shot” material. I think about that and get my grump on.

There are sparse and scattered I-would-have-liked-that poses, except for the exceptional flaws. Oddly, they add artistically fierce fascination. Left ear left out of the shot, micro-movement fuzz effects, irreparable background noise, shiny nose, eyeglass reflection, crooked smiles, mis-angling into distorted chins, chipmunk cheeks or Churchill noses. I nod to the memory of Poppy Selin’s WC Fields-ish nose. His was due to a welter-weight boxing championship. Mine is merely repetitive lack-of-grace breakage.

I’ve chased the late afternoon and early evening light from room to room. I’m either chiseled like a cartoon fiend, or seamless like porcelain. The stark lights are not kind. The soft lights blanks into expression-less-ism. There are a couple of “take the damn picture” glares and I wonder who I’m trying to intimidate the phone or my fingers?

The good news is I don’t need a zoom loop to identify the absolutely nots . Delete, delete, delete.  I pause at one awkward affected 1980 style “looking off into the future” pondering gaze.” Starry and unfocused, if it was the 80’s… it could be a contender.

I should just scan my senior high school picture. It seemed so ridiculous at the time, and even more off-base now. I’m peeking out from behind some tree. It’s got more bark than I do, literally. There’s more of the tree than me. Perhaps a New York photo or the Tennessee head shot which to this day I can’t believe is me. I mean I recognize the clothes, but the young person who I thought was old at 30 looks 20 now to me. Plus, there’s hair. 85% of the people I know now have never seen me with hair; at least, not that much, comparatively.

Eight. I’ve narrowed it down to eight. I think. I’m tempted to take more, but am holding off for tomorrow. Maybe there’ll be better light and a flattering head shot tilt in the Earth’s rotation.

Some of the better one’s have debris in the background. Doesn’t that figure? Photoshop is on my to-own list. I’ve learned I need more than just an ability to “get the red out” of my eerie orbs.  Trying to posit natural eyes isn’t natural. Naturally, I look surprised, skeptical, cross-eyed, lazy-eyed, one-eyed, and tired.

Out of the corner of one of those same self-portrait  wandering eyes, I spy my very reasonable Friday night to-do list that was feasible at 4:15 PM. At 7:48 PM, I haven’t eaten dinner, yet, which might account for some of my shrew-ness. Prior to this marathon of discovery, I prepped cucumbers and zucchini for that “Zucchini Cold Noodle” recipe everyone’s been talking about. Julienne the squash; omitting seeds. Matchstick cucumbers, carrot, peppers, broccoli, radishes, onions, anything really, add red wine vinegar, celery seed, a little sugar, chill and let set and you’ve got it made.

It looks pretty good. I think I’ll plate it. Plop some in a chicken bowl, take a picture, and send it off with a note:

Sorry, no headshot available. Please accept this Bowl Shot as a consolation prize.

Or, maybe I should just take a picture of my smiley face Joe Boxer watch I once used for a staff id photo. Don’t see why it wouldn’t fly now. Wish I’d thought of that, hours ago. 🙂

 

Quote for the Week:

if i couldnt laugh at myself

Here is my collage of I honestly thought these would come out better pictures.  All were attempts to be natural; none were staged.

One has to be used for my One Brick Detroit profile. Positive opinions welcome.

selfies semi selected

None of these will be used, however, since I described them above…

selfies unselected

Greening

I’m obsessed with green. Every shade, every texture is mesmerizing. Pines on Esch and Eisenhower; Oaks and Maples and Birch on Hayes and King George.  Shimmering in the morning or in swaying at sunset, they never stand still. Perhaps, it’s the movement that makes them fascinating; creating moments that just aren’t capture-able, at least not on my camera.

Due to a dinged and perpetually smudged screen, it’s not easy to pause the mapping app, but logic loses to chance creativity. I keep stopping short; sometimes fighting a little longer and then sheepishly circling back. Frequently unable to employ an appropriate amount stealth, I am at times, forced to speed-walk on by fear of an audience, and my own nervousness regarding the previously mentioned questionable practice of photographing other people’s property.

It only matters because I want to share them. If I were content keeping them to myself, I probably wouldn’t try so hard. But now that I’ve noticed them, they need to be preserved.

A few weeks ago, luck of timing landed me rounding the bend and encountering the gardener tending on the same morning. I really do try not to impose, but allow myself permission when it may mean something. So, I compliment the impact and offer thanks for the effort. I can’t really tell if the lack of much of a response is from being startled, suspicious or hunched over pulling weeds in a way that might not allow enough air for conversation. No matter. I hope she enjoys the memory later, as much as I enjoyed that moment in the present.

On another day, somewhere between late afternoon and early evening, I stop at the corner again, and hatch a plan I didn’t know was even incubating. Close-up photographing to the best of my phone camera’s ability, a little green light dings in my head. Go, go, go! I do. In cartoon mode, suddenly the greens are popping. The purples and the pinks, the yellows, whites and red appear in abstract over definitive shades of green. My disappointment in trees and leaves and needles is borne from that lack of clear contrast. There’s no way to convey the shades of green that either only I can see, or actually require in-person observance.

Cartooning creates interesting abstracts that still don’t capture the subtle shades. It does, however, result in inspiring impressions of a well-planned corner garden ready to greet neighbors and travelers. I’m pleased with the color-clumps, vague shapes, and impressions, because that is what it all boils down to anyway – personal perspective.

It’s like those impressive vacation photos that seem magnificent, but often are belittled by the phrase, “The pictures don’t do it justice.” There’s no way to convey a million colors through one electronic eye. You had to be there, which leads me to this. I guessing I’m being there more often; regularly. I still want to take it with me; just in case I never see so many green leave rivers again.

The hard part is being content with memories. The responsibility part is encouraging others to do the same. There will always be more richness in person, so walk with purpose. The memory of the experience, enamorable and elegant, undoubtedly makes the journey more colorful. 

Quote for the Week:

The well planned corner garden 07 22 14

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Tree Planting Government Grants: http://www.education.com/science-fair/article/find-color-pigments-hidden-green/

Street Corner Gardens: http://www.learn2grow.com/inspirations/gardenstyles/smallspaces/CorneringBeauty.aspx

Camera Apps for Android: http://www.androidauthority.com/the-best-camera-apps-for-android-188148/