The Fine Art of The Selfie
I’ve never cared much for the idea of the ‘selfie’. As a journalist I’ve always maintained that I had a great face for radio and the perfect voice for print – which is my way of saying that I invariably prefer to be behind the scenes in my stories rather than thrusting myself front and centre. I especially prefer to be behind the camera rather than in front of it. But in order to create this series, I have been obliged to be my own model, for practical and logistical reasons if nothing else. I head out the door at four-thirty in the morning. Who else am I going to get to come out with me at that hour and put up with my directing, producing and endless takes, pedalling (as in the example above) up fourteen percent grades multiple times on warm sultry mornings just to capture the right light, the best position of the bicycle in the frame, and the million-and-one other details to get everything the way I want it? Besides I rather enjoy the artistic challenge of doing it all myself.
And so I have had to learn the art of the selfie – beyond merely holding up a smart phone at the end of a stick or at arm’s length. At the same time if you look through enough of the images in the gallery, you may notice that my face is often averted from the camera. This is not because of any coyness on my part – I’m fully reconciled to my role as model, and will do what I need to do to get the shot – but because the images here are not meant to be about me as an individual, gadding about the Sussex countryside on my bicycle, but about A Cyclist in the landscape. Any cyclist. You, perhaps. The point is to celebrate the beauty and freedom of being out and about on a bicycle, and the picturesque ideal of a bicycle on the landscape and all that it symbolises. And so you will find a lot of quartering shots, blurred motion, shots taken at distance, stylising done on Lightroom or – as in the above image – the brim of a cycling cap dipped strategically to anonymise myself.