The Unselfie Project

The whole notion of me creating a purely visual based story through photographs is a bit outside what I would ever have imagined a few years ago.

I had never been one to take pictures. I remember a number of conversations I have had over the years regarding the lacking of picture taking (not the least of which was the ex-wife being mad that I would never take any).

I didn’t need a reminder of the experience. I lived it.

Even to this day, a story, a comment, a thought, almost anything can trigger a memory and I can recall and mentally walk-through, in incredible detail, an event or experience from my childhood. For me, the act of taking them was a distraction.

Quite frankly, the pictures I did take over the years, the ones painstakingly organized in photo albums, I never saw again. Pictures felt more like looking back. I carry the stories with me. The physical or visual reminder was never necessary. Even when I left after my marriage ended after I took fewer than 100 pictures, They were mostly for my sons since they were from a time they likely wouldn’t remember. In close to 7 years I have yet to open the box they occupy. I have no desire to do so.

So why take them now?

To tell a story – either through the images themselves, or through the images helping bring to life the words on a page. They are used to bringing someone deeper into my experiences.

What started it?

It was sparked by 2 separate conversations, one on a Tuesday afternoon a few weeks back, the other the following morning. It grew out of a series of images I had been posting on Facebook.

When I moved to Salmon Beach in June 2016 I couldn’t get enough of the views. People would take vacations for these views. Here I had it from my deck. Add in that I could watch marine life from seals to 3 species of whales from the deck….and I realized what I had was priceless. I started taking pictures and sharing them to Facebook and Instagram.

Fall 2016 from the top of the north stairs looking at the Tacoma Narrows bridge at Salmon Beach
Salmon Beach looking south from the Tacoma Narrows
Night on the Tacoma Narrows

For the next couple of years I posted regularly, but sporadically. I posted the ones that would stand out, that were unique. I spread them out to maintain the visual impact.

The conversations.

I spoke with my friend Rhonda on a Tuesday evening. While chatting, she brought up that she loved seeing the pictures. She mentioned that seeing them brought her a bit of peace and calmness. In that moment I realized I had more than brought someone into my world visually. They could feel through the images what I felt at the real time.

The following morning, unprompted, Kurt said similar, then added  something. He loved that I wasn’t posting selfies! He vented for a few about how many he sees in his feed, that he didn’t get it, and was tired of seeing them.

Not to knock those who take selfies….but I hate them. I agree with Kurt. I’m tired of seeing them. Too many seem overly addicted to the need of having their face in every photo! I get showing off a new hairstyle, but every photo? Like look at me today? No thanks. I have seen enough of your face.

So, unless there is a story behind them, I won’t take one (and don’t want to see them). Honestly, I don’t like being in photos at all. Unless they’re candid shots, I don’t appear in many pictures (sort of like vampires having no reflection). Don’t ask me to pose either. That never ends well.

But my feet?

What is The Unselfie Project?

Looking back, there are dozens of them over the past couple of years with my feet in them!

It was something I did, without realizing it, as a way to connect myself to the space/location, to be part of the story behind the image without actually being IN them. The result was a picture that wasn’t another typical ‘tourist’ snapshot, but was still personal and added to the story.

As it turns out, it was also a way for me to connect with my audience and a way for them to put themselves in my shoes (pun not completely unintended) to experience the view from my perspective once I started sharing them.  

#theunselfproject on the bow of a yacht in 2016
#theunselfieproject A ride in my daughter's little red wagon in Aug 2015

I was essentially posting selfies

….only it was my feet and not my face in the photo. Hence, the ‘unselfie’. As it was already something I had been doing, it made for a great visual story idea.

So now it’s a thing!

#theunselfproject on the deck with Paw Patrol socks
#theunselfproject on the cliff trail down to Salmon Beach
#theunselfproject working on the deck at TSO Media - Tactical Social Media

I can’t leave well enough alone though. Where would the fun in that be? If I am going to tell a story, it needs a bit of character development, a plot twist, a bit of mystery, a bit of fun.

That means what I am wearing (or not wearing) on my feet will be as much a part of the story as the scene itself. It also means where I take the pictures will come into play (I can already see being asked to leave places).

Follow the project!

While this began on my personal Facebook profile and I will continue to post them there, I will be publishing them to my Instagram feed and have a Pinterest board to keep them all in one location. Images Instagram and Pinterest are public by default allowing anyone to see them.

If you are on social media, you can follow (or search) the hashtag #theunselfieproject or just follow my Pinterest Board.

Join in and contribute!

I encourage you to join in with your own images using the hashtag and tagging me. Or

  • Want your feet featured?
  • Want to help ‘dress my feet’, I will happily tag you or your brand for any footwear donated and worn.

Get in touch or send me a Tweet and let’s do it!

Most of all, I encourage you to connect with me, to comment and let me know your thoughts.

#theunselfproject grabbing a drink with my best friend
#theunselfproject grabbing a drink with my best friend
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