Life as a Widower

A young widowed father opening up about living with loss

selfie indulgence

I’ve very much enjoyed following today’s news that ‘selfie’ has been named Oxford Dictionaries’ 2013 word of the year. What I’ve enjoyed even more, however, is digesting all of the negative commentary about selfies that has ensued.

In The Guardian Jonathan Freedland says, ‘Not for nothing is the word just a breath – a mere “sh” – away from selfish.’ In The Telegraph Emma Barnett adds, ‘The selfie might be the word of the year but it’s never going to win big in the honesty stakes nor as a decent record of who we really are.’ From the reaction to the news across social media channels, I can only imagine how many people are currently removing all traces of this kind of self-portrait photography from their networks for fear of being criticised. And, in the real world, I can almost hear that bloke somewhere out there disingenuously asking ‘What’s a “selfie”?’ when the topic comes up in the pub tonight, just after he has ‘checked-in’ at the bar and shared a picture of his pint to the world via Instagram. 

I for one am throwing my hat into the ring in support of the selfie. Actually I’m not even sure if what I am attempting to endorse is best described as a ‘selfie’. Perhaps what I want to celebrate in the ‘group selfie’. The group selfie actually isn’t selfish, it’s inclusive. The group selfie captures good times and it does so with a touch of intimacy in every shot. I love group selfies.

Becoming a fairly recent fan of the group selfie means that I have loads of up-to-date photos of my son and me together, which, given our situation, I wouldn’t otherwise have. Not becoming a fan of the group selfie quite soon enough, however, means there are very few photos of the two of us with my late wife. And now every single time I look at a shot that depicts my son alone, I wish I’d be ‘selfish’ enough to make it a group selfie instead. I wish that every single shot I’d ever taken was a group selfie of the three of us. It may have felt far too self indulgent to take selfies at the time, but somehow I don’t think it would feel like that if I were able to flick through a pile of them right now.

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6 comments on “selfie indulgence

  1. Paul
    November 19, 2013

    Maybe a group selfie should be an usie?

  2. Ben Dyke
    November 19, 2013

    Ben that’s just a great pic of you two! You are doing a great job! One of the ‘treasures in darkness’ of losing a loved one, when you have small kids particularly, is the time and intimacy you can have with your children when otherwise you would probably have been working…

  3. Felicity Wilson
    November 19, 2013

    Would be a labour of love to get a whole lot of photos copied then cut out photos of Desreen’s, Jackson & daddy to make a collage. Great activity for cold old days too.
    You could even take it further & make a series of personalized picture books.
    Needless to say, Jackson would be the hero, (even though your readers recognize you as such.)

  4. Lunar Hine
    November 19, 2013

    Just this afternoon I was looking for a good photo of my daughter and I. I don’t even have a bad one! There were lots from when my husband was alive (but then, we discovered, none of him) and, now that I’m the photographer, they’re all just of my girl alone or with other people. So, just as the world decides selfies are awful, I have resolved to start taking them. It feels important to record the good times now, so it’s not as if all the fun was in the past – although if you catch me on the wrong day, it sometimes feels like that. Thanks, as always.

  5. Hannah
    November 20, 2013

    You’re right about getting more selfies with family, I don’t have enough. I do like a good selfie in general though! I mostly do funnier ones which show my more humorous side so I disagree with the view it’s true to ourselves.
    I’m a new follower to your blog and I’m finding it such a wonderful read. X

  6. Pingback: Friday Treasures | Trawlergirl – Celebration Inspiration – Home of How I Partied

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