I've had a sort of running joke with my Communication students. When we talk about symbols in Intro to Rhetoric class, I use my vacation experience as a way to explain indexicality. Every time the family goes on vacation, I tell the students, I have someone in the family take one picture of me to prove I was actually on the trip. The rest of the time, I'm behind the camera, being the "journalist" of the vacation.
One of our first real stops on this summer's trip was at El Morro National Monument in New Mexico. I love the pool of water at the monument--it is the first good source of water pioneers had as they were crossing the desert, and a number of them left their names carved into the relatively soft stone of the huge mountain above the pool. It's just a cool place, and I decided to take my one picture there. Except everyone else in the family had already moved on. I didn't want to call them back just to take a picture of me. Hey, everyone is taking selfies these days, right? So I took a selfie in front of the pool.
It was awful. I think I cut off the top of my head or something. So I deleted it and took off to catch up with the rest of the family.
At some point riding through the desert, though, I came up with what I thought was a great idea. What if having a bad selfie was the point? That it didn't matter what the "selfie" part looked like as long as the attraction showed up well in the picture. It would still act as an index proving I was on the trip, and it might be kind of funny to see how bad my selfies could be.
So I started taking bad selfies at every stop. My daughter finally started helping me line them up so the attraction looked good and I wouldn't have to take a dozen pictures to get the best of the bad. It was fun to document the trip this way. Usually I hate being in pictures, but who cares what I looked like in these? They were supposed to be bad, anyway!
I've been meaning all summer to share a travelogue of our trip through an exhibit of bad selfies. Now that we are at the "official" end of summer, Labor Day, I present.....
BAD SELFIES ON VACATION!
I wish I had thought of doing this before we visited the Grand Canyon, but my first bad selfie was at the Hoover Dam. Not a bad place to start, I guess.
This picture doesn't begin to capture the awesomeness of the Trail of 100 Giants in the Sequoia National Forest.
First view of the Pacific Ocean at Sunset State Beach near Watsonville, CA. There were a lot of clouds that evening, which I suppose "ruined" the sunset, but which I thought made for some rather dramatic pictures.
San Francisco was cool. We were there for only an afternoon, so we went to Fisherman's Wharf.
Of course, we took a ride on the cable cars. It was a really memorable experience - I didn't realize the cable cars share the streets with regular traffic, ha ha.
Well, the computer won't let me upload any more pictures for some reason, so I'll have to continue tomorrow.