La Photocabine: My Selfie Journal

I first started using the French vintage-style photo booth website, La Photocabine, in November of 2009. I discovered it through a blog and I immediately loved it. This was before Instagram and its faux-vintage filters. I immediately saw the potential of using this virtual photo booth as a visual journal of myself because it was four photos in one (more potential for storytelling) and the photos would take place in front of my computer (where I always am).

"morning, just got dressed and was reading she mentioned so i checked it out. it's so cute and french, i love it. i'm going to take photos with it everyday" [Nov. 24, 2009]
Since then, I have come to La Photocabine whenever I had a cute new hairstyle to show, a holiday to celebrate, a craft I made, a purchase to show off, a new outfit, a new experience... There are been times that I have taken photos almost daily, and also long periods of not using it at all. Sadly, the reason I stopped using it a few years ago was because my Internet/computer was just too slow to even load the site; it was just too frustrating. But in December 2012, my iMac died (RIP) and I got a MacBook Pro, so I decided to try out La Photocabine again, and was very excited to start using it regularly. The fact that I had a laptop meant even more potential for the format, as I could take photos other than sitting at my desk! I was so pleased about this that I began 2013 with the intention of taking daily La Photocabine photos (downloading the iPhone app helped with that), but again, I experienced technical difficulties with the website (stretched/squished camera, which I was able to almost-fix with iGlasses). I didn't keep up with daily photos, but I used it intermittently throughout 2013. 

"I just thought I did a pretty good job on a messy bun today." [June 1, 2012]

When I decided to try it out while at my parents house (new location!) for Thanksgiving weekend last year, I found that the website had been updated with more options. There was now a GIF option, background options, and space to write a note! I thought adding a note directly onto the photo was great, because I had been including short captions with each photo when I uploaded them to my Flickr album.

[Oct. 13, 2013]
And, now, just the other day, when I went to La Photocabine to see if the camera was still messed up, Firefox froze. (Boo!) And when I re-opened Firefox, it had updated. I didn't like all the changes, so I tried other browsers. I almost settled with Chrome because La Photocabine worked perfectly (Yay!) but went back to Firefox (a bunch of little reasons). However, La Photocabine still doesn't work properly in Firefox (instead of stretched, it includes the entire widescreen inside of the square), so I decided to keep Chrome handy just for La Photocabine.

[May 11, 2014]
I don't want to turn this into a 'think piece' on selfie culture, but I do want to address why I like to take photos of myself. A big reason is; I like the way I look! I've always been visually creative above all else, which is why I started cultivating my own strange fashion sense as young as 11 years old. My body is my canvas, so I dye my hair and I do my make-up and I pick out my outfits to reflect who I am. Because I've always put thought into my look, capturing my looks over the years has been important, both as instant gratification (seeing myself look good in a photo) and for longevity (I can track where I was in my life by tracking what color/length my hair was or what style I was rocking). Capturing myself, my life, from when I was 13 with my first camcorder/digital camera, to Photo Booth on my iMac, to setting up photoshoots with backdrops and lighting, selfies on Instagram and La Photocabine, has been an artistic hobby for me, as well as a fun way of journalling my life.

"rushing off to class. just wanted to take a picture of my curly hair before it flattened.
after class i'll make my BVBN video." [Feb. 1, 2010]
So, I'm going to keep taking shameless selfies for Instagram, dressing up and having a photo shoot with myself, and capturing little and big moments with La Photocabine because I'd rather have a million photos of myself, and the rest of my life, to look back on when I'm a hundred years old, than a bunch of hand-written diaries, or doodles in a sketchbook. We all have our ways of capturing and remembering the times of our lives. I guess selfies is mine.

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