A Wall Street Journal article this past week about “shelfies” made me rejoice: Finally, I’ve been ahead of a trend. That has never happened before. And as you get older, you do start to worry that you’re falling further and further behind, for example when Brian Williams is fake-rapping to the beat of a song you never heard of — and the song dates to 1979.
The top headline on the Wall Street Journal real estate section proclaimed “The Rise of the Shelfie: Instagram’s Next Craze.” I haven’t yet succumbed to the charms of Instagram, but upon reading the definition, I realized that I had dozens of qualifying images among my photographs. I just hadn’t shared most of them, until now.
Shelfies — a term so new that as I write AutoCorrect keeps changing the word to “shelties” — are defined in the article as: “portraits of one’s taste… a twist on selfies, hopeful bids for attention in which one’s aesthetic and one’s ego overlap.” A photo taken by a New Yorker named Alice Gao of a teapot on a tray with some quince blossoms had 13,791 “likes” on Instagram as of the WSJ deadline. A coffee-table book of shelfies is about to be published.
Photographing our stuff in artful arrangements could be a whole new way of killing time instead of writing my novel.
Let’s see, we have about 50 Steinbach nutcrackers, some for every season, the entire Clive Cussler oeuvre, and don’t get me started on the pallets-full of Lionel trains in bright orange boxes in the basement.
I must have a dozen Baldwin Brass candlesticks, not including the ones on loan to my mother, all of them dating from the days when Baldwin Brass forged its products in Reading, PA, and gave them the famous “Lifetime Finish.”
Incidentally, in 2004, Baldwin Brass was acquired by Black & Decker, which discontinued home decor items in favor of door knobs and other necessities. The forge was shut down. Any Baldwin Brass candlesticks made after that date are sand-cast in China. Not the same.
But I digress.
When and if shiny brass objects come back into fashion, I’ll be all set.
This, above, is the only Instagram-like photo in my collection, (So far.) As a former photo editor for newspapers and books, I’m not a fan of applying filters to perfectly good photos. But this wasn’t a good photo, just a snapshot I always intended to send as a thank you to Peter Turnley, and it looked better when I muted the roses. Peter had photographed in black-and-white and framed this intimate scene along the Seine, and he gave it to us when we visited him in Paris on our honeymoon. That was 31 years ago. Maybe I did send him the thank you. Then again, perhaps I was too shy to send an inferior image to someone who became famous. To partially atone, I’ll end this post with a plug for his latest book, French Kiss.
Enjoy my shelfies.