Do you find this photograph captivating? Unforgettable? Would you see either of the men a week (or a day) after seeing this photo and say, “Oh, you’re the guy in that amazing photograph!” Nope.
So what does this have to do with selfies? Photography and art need to be intense to get attention in a world awash with images. It doesn’t take long for viewers’ eyes to pass over one more of thousands of selfies – the successor to the infamous ‘grip and grin.’ If you don’t believe this, ask anyone in SL to tell you about any selfie they’ve seen on Flickr.
“Who was it? Did you find it interesting? Why do you think they put it on Flickr? Did it impact you emotionally? Have you been thinking about it since you saw it?
There’s a more profound question lurking unspoken: ‘Why upload images at all?’ Who cares?”
Here’s one answer: Change your viewer forever. Leave such a soul-shaking impression that it stays engraved in a person’s mind. Such an image need not be vivid, though it might well be.
Here’s a great image from the FOCUS Exploratorium of Art (artist: Bamboo Barnes).
You might not recognize the woman if you ran into her somewhere — but you’d remember this picture – given one additional requirement. What? The viewer! The image is meaningless if the receiver of the image doesn’t really see it. He or she needs to slow down, clear their mind of distractions, and let the eye wander. What are those plants? What do they represent? Why the red ones in the back and the dark ones in the front? What does that look in her eyes mean? Is this someone who tells what she knows, or is it the picture of someone who keeps secrets? If the latter, what kinds of secrets? And why are those colors so eyecatching? I can’t stop going back and forth from the gold to the orange to the red and back again! Why?
Some people are not comfortable asking questions that have no clearcut answers. However, not all questions have final and definitive answers. Whatever happened to that girl I dated in college? Is she doing ok? Will I grow old? Why didn’t my mother ever tell me what happened to her and dad before they divorced? We live in a world of uncertainty.
So why not embrace it, much as we did when we got our first job, married, or bought a house (or decided not to buy a home!) Taking risks is part of life – and doing so opens the door to all kinds of adventures.
And why not also make your photography and art venturesome trips to strange landscapes? But if you do, do so boldly!