If there is anything that garners more shame than a bathroom selfie, I don’t know what it is. Which is unfortunate, since the bathroom has some of the greatest lighting. I’m not ashamed to admit it – I love the stark contrast of cold white porcelain and soft, warm flesh. The bathroom is an intimate place – I feel like I can relax, be myself, and just breathe. Sure, I’m no Ellen von Unwerth or Josef von Sternberg, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t take a great photo of myself. In fact, these happen to be some of my best photos – after all, I know my face, bone structure, body type, angles, etc. the best. Don’t let the countless contrived selfies that plaster social media prevent you from experimenting and finding out what works for you. Let them serve as a cautionary tale. There is no shame in the selfie game.
Don’t be cliche – embrace your inner glamorous eccentric and find your source of inspiration. I will forever be inspired by Bettie Page (specifically the Irving Klaw era), Yva Richards, and John Willie. There is something beautifully raw and unrefined about vintage smut. I just adore it. I can’t stand modern Playboy style with airbrushed pussy and buckets of lipgloss. It’s just not my style. This may come off as narcissistic, but one of the things on my bucket list is to have an secret box filled with vintage style smut to look back on as an aging glamorous eccentric (that, and a closet full of luxurious coats that Gloria Wandrous would die to borrow!). If you’re going for provocative, be witty or coy about it. Too many selfies are unimaginative, cookie cutter, cardboard cutouts that reek of desperation. What inspires you? Don’t let anyone else dictate what you find interesting or beautiful. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need duck lips , fake tits, and a spray tan to be beautiful. This isn’t for garnering follows or likes. This is for you.
Express yourself – since you aren’t doing this for the sole purpose of mass media consumption, really push yourself to experiment with different props, outfits, and poses. Unlike a professional photo shoot (which certainly has it’s place), you have all the time in the world to pose, snap, filter, and edit. Don’t be afraid to push the proverbial envelope!
Vogue! – be creative and put together a storyboard of which shots you want to get and what you are trying to say. The most interesting photo shoots have a story-line or theme that connects the images. Treat this like your very own editorial.
Do it like Dietrich – We are never the same person twice. Don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself. In fact, constant evolution or reinvention is necessary for survival. When Josef von Sternberg “discovered” Marlene, she was already quite the fixture in the Weimar Berlin cabaret scene. She, by no means, was an unknown. However, von Sternberg saw in Marlene a muse with blinding star power, and he knew how to take her to the next level. Their partnership is the stuff that legends are made of. Don’t be afraid to look foolish. Experiment. Also don’t be afraid to have a few fool-proof tricks up your sleeve in terms of go-to poses, angles or lighting.
Now that I’ve shamelessly divulged my selfie secrets, go set your self-timer and master the art of the bathroom selfie…
Ready, set, SNAP!
The Comrade General