My new camera, the Olympus PEN E-PL5 has a flip screen that you can turn 180 degrees. It is, as they say, “selfie-friendly.” Unable to resist, I took a few, just to see how it worked.

selfie in mirror January 2015
I used the a portrait lens (Olympus 45mm f1.8) and a mirror. I put on a little makeup, and brushed my hair. Put on a pair of earrings. I smoothed out some wrinkles, deleted a few spots. Put a little glow over the whole picture. Did some cropping … oh and I lowered the overall brightness.

The results were just this side of traumatic. I still shudder thinking about it. From this test, I reached some conclusions. Created a few guidelines, as it were, for selfies. Who should take them. Who should not. Ever. Take Selfies.

1. Just because your camera (or phone) is “selfie-friendly” does not mean your face is.

2. Wrinkles and selfies go together like oil and water. Actually, oil and water go together far better than wrinkles, wattles, liver spots and selfies.

3. Your arms are too short. I don’t care who you are. Your arms are still too short. If you are over 50, you would need to be ElastiGirl (or Guy). Otherwise, your arms are too short.

4. Nothing will compensate for the bags under your eyes, the deep baggy folds of your throat. Or the furrows where your chin droops. It isn’t about fat or thin. You can be young and fat and look fine in a selfie. You can be slender, fit, and 75 … and look like a zombie who hasn’t eaten a good brain lately.

5. Touch up tools are not enough. If the picture is awful, there’s only so far Adobe’s Healing Tools … or even the NIK Glamor Glow filter … can take you. If the picture is a horrible closeup, touching it up will make it a touched up yet horrible closeup.


If youth is but a faded memory, don’t take selfies. If you are not outright horrified, you will be at the very least, saddened. Don’t take them on your phone, or your camera. Unless you are one of those Hollywood people, you will look bad, even if you are actually attractive. The camera is cruel. Unforgiving. It doesn’t see you with an overlay of love.

I see the selfies posted on Facebook. Some are so awful, I cringe. What were they thinking?

I don’t even know the individual, but I do recognize an unflattering picture when I see it. It isn’t merely unflattering. It’s an extreme closeup. Anyone who has ever worked in front of a camera will tell you: extreme closeups are for the young. Everyone else? It looks like a prison intake photo. (Sometimes, even the young look pretty bad.)

Some parameters as the first picture, but I tilted my head and remembered to add the hint of a smile.

Meanwhile, the friends of the people in these godawful photographs tell them that their beautiful soul is shining through. I have a hot flash for you. Your beautiful soul is not shining through,  but your wart with the bristly hairs is. Photographs do not capture your soul, just your image.

If you need a picture of yourself and there is no one on earth you can ask to hold the camera a decent distance away, have you heard of a mirror? Step back, get some perspective. Maybe turn your head so you get rid of that “America’s Most Wanted” look. Do not use a flash.

How about some makeup? Do you own a hairbrush? Would you consider using it?

Don’t wear white in a photograph. If you have an unfortunate neck, wear a scarf. Jewelry can help. A nice pair of earrings can work wonders.

And you guys? Shave. Trim the beard. Remove  the nose hairs. How about putting on something attractive? That wife-beater shirt might not be your best choice for that portrait.

Why do people think it’s cheating to look good for portraits? Is there a law (a secret to me) which requires full, naked disclosure in photographs?

I delete ugly pictures of me, Garry, family and friends who look particularly grotesque in pictures. And I use all the tools at my disposal — filters, healing brushes, soft focus — to make the subjects of my portraits look attractive. Not necessarily young. But no one has some inherent right to get the full details of Jenny’s wrinkly neck or mottled complexion, then have it posted on social media sites so everyone can snicker at poor Jen. And trust me, they snicker. Or worse.

Putting your best foot forward is never bad. And all was right in the world.

Now, put down that cell phone. Step away. Don’t make me hurt you.

(Your Thing) for Dummies – Take a complicated subject you know more about than most people, and explain it to a friend who knows nothing about it at all.

And just in case they fix the link to today’s prompt:  Easy Fix


Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge: 2015 Week #3

This week, I’m featuring the sidewalks of city and village … and one famous boardwalk. Because before there was any other form of transportation, there were our feet. And when all else fails, even today, we still have feet. You don’t have to buy them, make payments on them, or upgrade them every few years. They are original equipment. If you are lucky, they last a lifetime and take you from here to there.


Share Your World – 2015 Week #3

Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

There was time when I would have chosen favorite authors or even fictional characters. Maybe somebody great out of history, or myth. Eleanor Roosevelt. Sir Lancelot or Merlin. Too eclectic?

These days, life being different than it used to be, I’d prefer to have the people I love — the living — gathered at my table. Laughing, eating, telling stories. Remembering together.

I’ve gotten very protective of life. The real thing. I’m inclined to not waste any of it. The older I get, the more the small things matter to me.

creative selfie solarized

When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

I sing along with music in the car,  but I don’t sing to anyone, except Garry and he can’t hear me (lucky for him). I damaged my voice years ago and I croak rather than warble. But, if the music is loud enough and no one can hear me, I’m ready for the opera.

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

I really don’t know. I’m not going to start a new career so I don’t need a new skill set. I wouldn’t mind being 30 years younger and a whole lot healthier, but I’m pretty sure that’s not what you had in mind. So you got me. I have no idea what I might want.

I would like to have my voice back. My hands too so I could play the piano. I miss making music. Of all the abilities life has taken away, two things I miss the most: riding horses and making music.

What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

Poverty. Racism. Illness. Cruelty. Bullying. I can’t watch movies with this stuff in it, even when I used to love the movie. There are books I read when I was young which I can’t imagine reading now –“The Scarlet Pimpernel” comes to mind — because they are full of ugly stereotypes. As a kid, this stuff just rolled off without making an impression. I guess I’ve changed. These days, it bothers me. A lot, and more with each passing year.


Motherhood is forever. I laughed a lot when I read this, but it also resonates. I think it will feel very familiar to any mother who has raised kids.

Stuff my dog taught me

sad momRemember that Mormon ad from a million years ago… A little kid is happy because he got A’s on his report card and all his joy gets sucked away by the voice of a parent, getting mad at him for some minor thing he has done wrong. Sometimes (most of the time), I feel like that little boy.

Our house is a very busy place. Everyone is juggling some combination of work, school, and social commitments (except my youngest who is only 10 and Buster the Schnauzer who is… well… a schnauzer). Emotions run high. And here I stand, rooted like a bull’s eye in the center of the madness, throwing out statements that are bound to infuriate the masses. Wild, crazy things like:

  • “put on your mittens” (in my defense, it is -14 C)
  • “wrap the cheese before you put it back in the…

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