The selfie can convey just about anything. Commonly now seen in the form of the “duck face,” or the boastful vacation shot—it’s not who we are, but how we’d like to be perceived. In that respect, the selfie apes the best of classical European portraiture. From King Henry VIII’s exaggerated calves to Denise from Ohio’s flattering Tinder angles, the self-portrait was and still is (at best) a white lie.
Photographer Mike Mellia‘s series “A Selfie a Day Keeps the Doctor Away” is an Instagram project aimed at the heart of selfie culture. Mellia shoots himself adorned in turbans and cradling swaths of silk, unapologetically pensive. Images are captioned by wry quips that explain, elaborate or perplex. (A distinctly Marxist pose reads: “That one time I asked the workers of the world to unite.”)
Mellia succeeds because he embraces the form at its most unselfconscious—each scene is overly contrived, and each caption channels a braggart’s dry assurance of his own importance. At once self-serving and disinterested, the images are like vanities created specially for the bonfire.
For more of Mellia’s work, see our earlier piece on his series “The American Dream.” Follow the photographer’s ongoing selfie project on Instagram at @mikemellia.
Images courtesy of Mike Mellia