February 22, 2014 11:39:06 PM
The selfie was the Internet craze of 2013, and self-portraits of everyone from the president to Grand Peggy are showing up in my Instagram and Facebook feeds well into 2014. Last year the Oxford Dictionary announced "selfie" as its International Word of the Year.
I confess. I have been known to aim my iPhone at myself, contorting my body into the oddest of configurations all in the quest for the best shot to share with friends and "friends." Perhaps it's to show off my new crowns (thanks, Dr. Gee), to celebrate a fetching new scarf, or just to mark a normal day at the salon with my beautiful niece Shelby, duck faces and all.
The way I see it, selfies are an empowering method of self-expression that don't take the place of a professional portrait session, but sure give immediate gratification. Armed with nothing but our own smartphones, good lighting, and as many retakes as we need to get it right, we are the photographers. We call the shots.
Researchers have questioned if it damages the self-esteem to be so obsessed with our appearance, and it has crossed my mind a few times. Some psychologists think it's healthy in moderation when capturing a memory -- that informal selfie of a new bang or beach trip with the BFFs. It allows us to be in the moment and share it with a few friends.
The danger, some say, comes when it becomes a habit, posting on social media for gratification from others. The checking back every ten minutes to see how many "likes" our selfie stirred up or who has commented on it might be just a bit too self-involved. So, let's ask ourselves the next time we reach for our phones to snap an informal self-portrait, "Who are we doing this for and why?" If it's not for ourselves and just for the fun of recording a moment in our lives that is meaningful to us, maybe we should turn off the flash, stop making faces and wait until the next special moment.
Another good tip is to shoot a few selfies and resist the urge to instantly upload them to the world. Pause for a minute or two and come back to it later. Break the "insta" habit of instagramming everything. Then, maybe share that special selfie with only one or two friends for a change.
I'm a big fan of the selfie, but I encourage us all to shoot and share them wisely. I even have a collection of selfies made with my dogs, but, no, you cannot see them!
Former Columbus resident David Creel owns Beautiful With David salon in Jackson and has 20 years experience in the beauty industry. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.