The Ultimate Selfie – Alligator, Mississippi, June 2014
This is all about “The Art of the Selfie.” I have taken hundreds of them and love doing so. In 2013 the Oxford Dictionaries announced their word of the year to be “selfie”, which they define as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.” As most of us know, the “selfie” has become a very popular form of sharing one’s activities, travels and a photograph with one’s friends, family and the world. Though taking self-portraits has been around since the birth of photography (Robert Cornelius, a pioneer in photography, produced a daguerreotype of himself in 1839), since the mid 2000s, and especially since 2010, the genre has exploded, thanks to the proliferation of social media.
Clowning Around (Sumoelton) – taken at home, Halloween 2012
I have always been one that wanted to have my picture taken wherever I went, more as a record, but in the past couple of years, with the new technologies that smart devices provide us, I’ve been very active in taking selfies without having to have other people interact with me. Honestly, with the posting of all these selfies, one might think that I am self absorbed. But that is not really the truth. I enjoy sharing the joy and excitement of the places that I have been and the activities that I have participated in.
Selfie with a HUGE potato at a drive-in theater in Driggs, Idaho – March 2013
Even as a young boy I was always fascinated with being in front of the camera. Over the years I’ve had numerous “goofy” pictures taken of me and I’ve even taken a few “selfies” on my own. Here are a few “non-selfies” from years gone by.
My first “selfie” using a mirror. I was at a barber shop in Japan when this bird landed on my shoulder. I took it from an angle. Taken in 1977 in Ogaki, Japan
I took this “selfie” in Jemez Springs, NM in Dec. 1978 – Turned the camera towards me and “point and shoot”
Mirror image – used my cell phone to take a mirrored selfie at Colter Bay Village in Grand Tetons National Park, March 2013
Kewpie Hair – took this after a nap with wet hair – taken in the mirror with my cell phone – July 2014
Nowadays, it seems like I take them wherever I’m at, whether I’m traveling across the country or whether I’m with my grandchildren. Taking selfies is fun for me and fun for those around me (I hope). But they also have become a great way of documenting trips and events.
Real Quiet Lane, Lexington, KY -November 2013
In May and June I took two trips across the United States. The first trip was north to Michigan and across four states to Montana to see my daughter and her family. From there I returned south into Wyoming and across Wyoming, Nebraska, Illinois and Missouri to return home. On the second trip I drove south through Tennessee Mississippi and Texas and then back home through Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois.
Friendship, Arkansas – July 2014
On both of these trips I took close to 100 selfies each. Many of these were posted in Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and some of my travel blog posts at lessbeatenpaths.com. As I moved across the states, friends and family were able to follow me (probably to the point of overkill). Of course, anyone that follows my adventures knows that I also like to ham it up in many of my selfies. Always more fun.
Bison and Sumobison, Havre, Montana – May 2014
In this post, I have no intention of posting all 150 or 200 of my selfies from those trips, but I am going to post a selection of them that I found fun and interesting. I will include the location and, if there is a back story, I’ll include a little of that as well. At the end of the post, I am also going to include a few of my other favorites from past trips.
Sumoflam with Hiawatha, the largest statue of a native American in the U.S. This was taken in Ironwood, MI in May 2014
I had the opportunity to visit my cousin Lew in Austin, TX in June 2014. This is the famous Greetings from Austin mural
Big Fish Supper Club in Bena, Minnesota. Taken in May 2014
Pink Elephant in DeForest, Wisconsin – May 2014
Not only do I find pink elephants with glasses, I can find big cows with PINK glasses – this was in Russellville, KY in June 2014
Bucksnort, Tennessee in June 2014
With Chief Washakie in Cody, Wyoming – May 2014
At Mammy’s Cupboard Cafe in Natchez, Mississippi in June 2014. Yes, I ate in that place too…unique looking place
A star shining brightly at Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska in May 2014
Sumoflam visits the Tee Pee Motel in Wharton, TX in June 2014
Personally, I think that the selfie has become a great form of “journal keeping.” These are things that will allow family and friends to look back and see what we have done. I think that too many people don’t document the things that they have done and then we lose that personal history.
At the corner of This Way and That Way in Lake Jackson, Texas – June 2014
Wyoming’s Wildlife – yes, probably me… taken at a rest area on US Highway 20 about 40 miles west of Casper, WY in May 2014
Visiting Rock City near Valier, Montana in May 2014
I always endeavor to find unique places for selfies and just for a visit. This was Endeavor, WI in May 2014
Sumoflamalope (a mix between a Sumoflam and a Jackalope. Taken in Douglas, WY in May 2014
Some gator teeth and me at P’maws Bait Shop in Pierre Part, Louisiana – June 2014
With the old Paul Bunyan statue (built in 1937) in Bemidji, MN in May 2014
Visiting the giant pyramid in Nekoma, ND in May 2014
With Sam Houston’s head in Huntsville, Texas in June 2014
Naturally, when I travel, no matter when it is, I have my cameras on the ready. In the past couple of years I try to also get photos with state signs and unique town signs. Here are a few from trips over the past couple of years.
Welcome to Winner, South Dakota. Always great to be a Winner (and they had a major lottery winner in that town too!!) Taken in June 2013
I meandered into Okay, Oklahoma in November 2012
A visit to North Carolina in April 2013. We actually took a trip to South Carolina and Georgia as well.
Smile, you are in Pennsylvania…so I smiled in July 2013
Went through Nebraska on my to see Carhenge in May 2014
Arriving in Texas on my way from Colorado and heading to Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo in June 2013
Rudyard, Montana – and no, I am not the Old Sore Head… May 2014
Welcome to Louisiana in June 2014
In Lost Springs, Wyoming (Population 4) in May 2014.
Had to visit the town of Cut and Shoot, Texas north of Conroe, just for a photo op with their City Hall and the town name – taken in June 2014
Naturally, I had to visit the birthplace of one of my favorite characters, Kermit the Frog, in Leland, Mississippi in June 2014
Route 61, the Blues Highway in Mississippi in June 2014
Heading to Carhenge in May 2014
Welcome to Arkansas in June 2014
Then there are my ham it up, goofy and whimsical selfies that I love to take. Here are a few from previous road trips and at home, around movie theaters, and other odds and ends for fun.
Bull headed at the Frontier Steak House in Dunkirk, Montana in March 2013
The Hodag and Sumoflam in Rhinelander, WI in August 2012
Home of the Hamburger – with the Charles Nagreen Statue in Seymour, Wisconsin, August 2012
At the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Tennessee in June 2014
At the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Texas in June 2014
Being chomped by a Transformer Dinosaur at the movie theater in Lexington – July 2014
Escaping a T-Rex in Choteau, Montana in May 2014
Within reach of the amazing metal dragon from Jurustic Park in Marshfield, WI in August 2012
Being stomped by a giant dinosaur at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum in September 2013
Under a Fire-breathing Dragon in Vandalia, IL in September 2013
Cuddling with a troll in Mt. Horeb, WI in August 2012
Almost didn’t see the stop sign covered in snow at the “Top of the World Store” in the Beartooth Range at 10,000 feet in May 2014
Suffering with Flamingo Pink Eye at the former Lynn’s Paradise Cafe in Louisville in December 2012
Took a SumoGothic photo in Eldon, Iowa at the house used in the painting American Gothic in September 2013
Being corny at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD in April 2013
Selfie with the Caddies of Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, TX in June 2013
Peek a Boo from behind an umbrella at Cave Run Lake in Kentucky in June 2013
Then there are my references to Antsy McClain…my good friend and favorite singer/songwriter….
Livin’ the Dream – taken at a Hobby Lobby in December 2013 – refers to Antsy’s CD of the same name
Juxtaposed Antsy’s Living the Dream CD with my face in July 2012
An “usie” with Antsy McClain taken in 2013
Everything’s a Dollar – in reference to an Antsy McClain song of the same name
Enjoy the Ride – The Aluminum Rule from the Antsy McClain song “Living in Aluminum”
And just a few more goofball selfies to round out this post…
I get the point at Gronk’s in Superior, Wisconsin in May 2014
Hanging with the Tin Family in North Dakota’s Enchanted Highway in June 2013
With a bottle of “Route Beer” at Rabbit Ranch in Staunton, IL in August 2013
And how about some Ice Cream with that “Route Beer”… at Twistee Treat in Peoria, IL
I always like to get a selfie at unusual places, like Stoner Drug in Hamburg, Iowa
Or with famous things like the car used in American Pickers. This is in LeClaire, Iowa
Took this at a place that had a bunch of totem poles made with chainsaws, in Wisconsin
The Artsy side of me likes to get selfies where I “kind of” fit in…. This was in Council Bluffs, Iowa in August 2013
I recently read that there are now words being created for group “selfies,” with “usie” being one of the more common names, but other names are used as well. here are a few “usie” pix I have gotten over the past couple of years….
The best “usies” are with my wife Julianne, this one at Corn Palace in South Dakota in 2012
An “usie” with travel writer and blogger Tui Snider from Texas in June 2014
This “usie” is with Troy Landry, one of the stars of the History Channel’s “Swamp People” series. He hunts gators near Pierre Part, Louisiana. I got this with him at his Dad’s bait shop in Pierre Part in June 2014
An “usie” with Danielle Colby from American Pickers taken in 2012
An “usie” with world renown guitarist Tommy Emmanuel
Naturally, as a grandfather of nine, I get a number of “usie” photos with my grandchildren. My next “selfie” post will include quite a few of them, but, in closing, here are just a couple of my all time favorites to include in this first post.
With some of the grandkids in the car on the way to a movie
Hamming it up with my East Coast grandson Rockwell
A couple of the grandkids with Grandma and Grampz
Teaching my granddaughter Lyla to drive
Enjoying time with my West Coast grandkids in Montana
On that note I will end by noting that I am grateful for the wizardry of technology that allows us to do these “selfies” and “usies” and share them with the world. Photography has become fun and documenting one’s life has become more fun. Wizardry is fun…right Gandalf?
Sumoflam and Gandalf “usie”
So, with that being said, I will probably have a couple more posts in the future of other selfies and most certainly of some family “usies.”