April 28, 2014

Shelfie: The New Selfie

I was reading the Wall Street Journal this afternoon and noticed an article entitled “The Rise of the Shelfie”. Naturally, I had to read it and see what it was all about. The second header said it all: Self-indulgent ego trip—or a thoughtful way to show off your great taste on social media?

Apparently, it’s an Instagram phenomenon to take pictures of your “well-curated” (cue teeth grinding) shelf or shelf-like space and show off your goods. I have no patience for that well- and carefully-arranged vignette of your bed in the morning covered with all manner of things, or what’s in your handbag (ohh, Chanel lippie). But I do like a shelfie like this:imageOf course, it was David Hicks who first started the “shelfie” concept when he coined the concept of tablescapes. imageHe arranged things according to colour or type and it all looked gorgeous. imageFor Hicks, the concept wasn’t about being conspicuous in showing off what he had, it was in the arrangements of the pieces and how they fit together.image

What we’re seeing in many of today’s shelfies is the showing off of possessions, many arranged over hours to get the right light and look. It’s the “museum of you”, as is so much of what we do today. image

However, the WSJ cautions that there are clichés in shelfies, and warns against them. Here are some of them:

  • The Stunning Espresso Foam Design
  • The Haunting Glass Cloche
  • The Casual Magazine Tableau
  • The Evocative Pair of Spectacles

What do you think about this trend? Over-sharing and narcissistic or artistic?

21 comments:

  1. Meg I love shelfies and they often get pinned onto my Artful Accessories board! The first four images above are wonderful in my book!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

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    1. Good ones are very good and don't brag.

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  2. I love this post Meg. To me it's like doing a floral arrangement of things that make you happy.

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  3. I just read this article last night! Ha. I loved it and the tongue in cheek references to egos. So true all!! WSJ is such a great paper.

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    1. It was fun, although I was a little alarmed at the person who takes several shelfies a day and freaked out when she couldn't take them because she was sick. YIKES!

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  4. Very interesting. I like the trend if it follows along with the first 4 images. Then it's like you shared your "artful arrangement" of objects. The last is more in the narcissistic vein - hey look I own a fancy watch and I scored those coveted tickets everybody wants. Fun post.

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    1. Agree 100%. It's like the humble-brag. Makes me a little ill.

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  5. "For Hicks, the concept wasn’t about being conspicuous in showing off what he had, it was in the arrangements of the pieces and how they fit together."....well, possibly. I have a hunch that the photo in the tablescape is probably of someone ever so slightly royal, n'est pa? But I suppose if your wife's got it, why not flaunt it?! Meow.

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    1. But he's doing it in a very low key way, and probably wasn't re-arranging them and taking pictures every day, like the person in the last picture.

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  6. More fall-of-the-empire emphasis/obsession with ephemera and trivia.

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  7. Arranging shelves is, indeed, an art form and showing off our shelfies is a great way to share our art. But including popcorn bowls on a bed, spools on an ironing board or a pile of bone handled forks into the definintion of #shelfie is a bastardization of the media. Call me a purist!

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    1. UC... i totally would have done a collection of bone-handled forks... just because i have some. imported from england, c/o my ex-housemate. You are a purist!

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  8. Hi Meg, I was just reading a book from 1986 about historic interiors, and had noticed in many of the vignettes modern personal items made an appearance--keys, cameras, phones, and especially the eyeglasses you mentioned. I think the point was that the museum-like houses fit into modern lifestyles, but these photos still had all the "shelfie" qualities
    --Jim.

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    1. I think that what bothers me is having to chronicle every moment... like the woman who posts numerous shelfies every day. And was freaked out when she was sick and missed a day and a half. I realize she's now a photographer, but look outward!

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  9. Hi Meg,
    I just had to chime in as I read this article too! And, the timing couldn't have been better as I've pondered this myself lately as my own mantle has been negleted since the holidays- which is the one time I will spend an hour or two trying to get the greens and such just right to last the season. I'm not entirely sure what's wrong with an empty mantle, after all it is about the architecture of the mantlepiece right? I think a few interesting objects are fine, but those cluttered up "mantlescapes" I think, with few exceptions, are cringe worthy. A notable exception would be something like RD'S shell mania mantle- now that was a thing of beauty and seasonal interest! I definately prefer a few well chosen and interesting objects or a great collection on a bookshelf or table to the show off shrines of any nature .

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    1. In the house where I grew up, we had two fireplaces on the ground floor. One was in the living room and had two Grecian vases and a small brass piece. The one in the study had numerous pieces on it, all mementos collected by my father. Each was great in its own way.

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  10. I've never heard of SHELFIES!! Hmmm... Let's start a NEW Instagram trend and post photos of the inside of our laundry hampers! Underwear and socks, in an unruly but artistic jumble, ever-so-artfully arranged so that the label sticks out of that designer top that really ought to go to the dry cleaners... (Please know that I am KIDDING!)

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  11. Has anyone ever considered the fact this is like early man leaving his hand prints on the walls of the cave? Early man did not have disposable income to spend on knick nacks or material things that represented his life. He was busy running from the saber tooth tiger.... Remember when the photo copy machine was reproducing the arses of individuals that dropped their shorts to hop on to the company Canon Copier? Now we have a generation of sharing to everyone, instantaneously without malice of forethought I hope. Perhaps these images shared, are an exercise in artistic expression, of composition in another form. Well ,unlike a hand beaded purse, an oil painting of generations past made by the hands of women that had time to pursue the decorative arts, have we evolved to a peoples that have electronic devices to create pixels of images for the clouds. The internet as we know it today (it is bound to change ) is a meeting place of ideas. each comment left is like a letter to the editor. A blog is like a newspaper with readers the popular ones command a large audience. I am sorry I got off track why not images of a clothes closet oh wait that is in my monthly magazine in an article how to reduce clutter. In conclusion, I suggest a shelfie is a fun way to use the internet after a long day in front of a computer number crunching or after a long day price checking products in Target or after a long day changing oil in a car this can be an inclusive -- oh I just remembered, someone at work was sharing images of the Nike shoes she had just bought. It is probably on a Pinterest board somewhere. Thus documenting the life of a fraction of humanity with a phone and a will to do so.

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  12. I love the warning against certain cliches. I also like shelfies, although I can see some of them being annoying. I like arrangements of objects and I think these are like modern day still lifes Just think how fascinating they will be to look at in 30 years or more. Just think how interesting a shelfie from 1984 would be.

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