Ruth Manning: Selfie?

Ruth Manning, Social Graces

Ruth Manning, Social Graces, detail  in progress

See “Ruth Manning/ Postcript on the Gloves” to view the completed version of “Social Graces”.

What is a Selfie?

Like so many things in life, just when I think I have it all figured out something comes along to make me question things once again.

I even wrote about my observations in a blog post, relaying the list my daughter in law had given me as a guide. I love lists. It went something like this:

Selfie is social media

Selfie is about choosing the right pose.

Selfie is about having your phone always on hand.

And now the rules seem to be changing because a photo of a new tapestry I am working on, Social Graces, has appeared on this blog. The idea for the tapestry grew from my memories and yes, they are my gloves…but a “selfie” ?  I wouldn’t consider it one.

Maybe this is.

2014 photo portrait  It’s got that standard composition, head down in front, nearly cut off. Me saying “Hey, I’m in Wisconsin and it’s cold!”

How about this.

2014.6 selfie at TAC copy - Copy That  might just be a bad picture, you can’t even see the cat. But then selfies don’t really claim to be good photography.

Or this.

2014.10 its fall copy  I always liked this picture. It wasn’t ‘set up’, but I do think of it as a portrait.

But wait, our context here is tapestry, so let’s look at the only portrait I’ve woven where I use the word Selfie in the title, Selfie by Proxy. Linda Wallace gets full credit for the title. It enables me to take the selfie leap.

Manning, Selfie by Proxy copy

Selfie by Proxy, 8 x 10 inches

There was very little planning before I wove this portrait, I drew a rough sketch in a couple minutes and the yarns were gathered in groups in a basket, changed  if I needed to adjust the values.

The impetus for this portrait was my hair and it’s constant removal needed from my work space. It suddenly appeared to be thread, so why not include it in the portrait. There’s an actual part of me  in the weaving.

Manning, Selfie by Proxie, detail copy

I’m not a frustrated English major who hunts down and whines over incorrect usage for a hobby. I just think there has to be a line drawn when using this word and I guess I’m trying to find it. I don’t feel it’s merely the cute word for a portrait, Van Gogh’s selfie for example, but limiting others has always been a problem for me.

One last tapestry. This figure is meant to be me, a narrative self portrait. Can a face with no features be a selfie?

2014.11 Rainfall copy

Rainfall, 9 x 9 inches



2 thoughts on “Ruth Manning: Selfie?

  1. Questions are very important to me…sometimes to a fault because I get caught up in them and don’t make my way to answers. Questions are often unsettling too, but I find, at the very least, they lead me somewhere else. Thanks for stopping by R!


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