Beyond The Selfie Why I Shoot Myself

Growing up my family didn’t do big vacations, in fact travel usually meant a short 90 minute drive to my grandparents cabin on a holiday weekend, or maybe a quick day trip to the local lake for a swim during the summers here in Michigan. And while this lack of travel wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, we simply couldn’t afford more than that.

But growing up I did get to travel vicariously through my grandparents stories of driving around the US in their RV, and also via a subscription to National Geographic magazine which my uncle gifted me. It was these influences that drove my desire for adventure from a young age.

In 2008 I purchased my first camera to document our family vacations. I was finally traveling, and best of all I was able to provide those experiences to my family. Photographing my sons running down the beaches in Florida, hugging Mickey and Donald at Disney World, adventures we’d never forget...would we?

Our first big adventure together.

My biggest influence...

My Grandmother as I saw her last......Alzheimer’s having stolen her memories........

After having become addicted to photography for several years (it IS an addiction right?) I found that my family and our travels together were being preserved for us in a way hadn’t imagined. We’d grow old and talk about our times together,the things we saw and experienced as a family. And then my perspective on life, memories, and family moments changed forever.

My grandmother looking into my eyes and not knowing who I was.

My grandmother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis was hard to swallow for me. My whole life she was a huge supporter of my love of the arts, and just a positive role model in general. So sitting across from her in a Florida home for elderly people with dementia and Alzheimer’s was something I wasn’t prepared for. But that last visit with her made me realize that a day may come when I might not be able to recall MY life’s experiences. So having a record of where I’ve been, what I’ve done, and what I’ve experienced became a mission for me. I hope that if that time ever does come, my kids can sit with me and show me that I did live a life I worked towards. A life of moments, places, emotions and most importantly a life that as a kid I dreamt of.

Main Street, Eaton Rapids Michigan

And it started with this photo

St. Agnes church, Detroit Michigan

And as I began to travel more and explore new things

Abandoned rail car in Charlotte Michigan

I started making sure to capture myself in a way that

A winter thunderstorm Eaton County Michigan

Showed not only where I was........

Paradise Cove, Christmas Michigan

But also captured how I felt when I was there......

And the more I started shooting these images, the more I realized I was writing my history for not only myself, but for my kids and grand kids. And as I shoot and share these images I secretly hope that it inspires my children to see as much of the world as they can, and to capture those memories to share with me when I am old, and they are living their own lives.

But I won’t lie to you...........

There is one more reason to share these moments I’ve lived, one that as a child couldn’t I have imagined being possible, and that is the ability to share my life with you.

I want everyone to see places they haven’t seen before
To see them the way I did......Full of wonder.........

And full of the passion I have for life.........

Huntington Beach, California
And to hopefully inspire others to stop and appreciate the journey we all live................
And just maybe....They might be driven to share THEIR experiences with the world too.........
And for those wondering why I always have my back to the camera............
I don’t, but it might just be the better side ;)

So to close this post I ask a favor of you. Take a moment to preserve YOU in your travels and adventures. Create the story of you and your moments. And if you do? Share them with the world and inspire others to do the same. It isn’t narcissism, its creating your story for yourself when you are too old to recall everything you’ve done.

Take care and travel safe.......
Created By
Jamie MacDonald


Alcatraz photo by Jerry James Oculus photo by Mike Boening

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