Selfies have been a fad for the past few years, but before the world, even knew what a selfie was, Karl Baden decided to take a black and white photo of himself and he repeated this activity every day for three decades.
This past Thursday, the “Every Day” project that Baden created, had turned 30 and the best thing about the anniversary is that he has decided that this project will not come to an end. He has been officially nicknamed, “father of the selfie.”
The 64-year-old Cambridge resident, complains about the recent selfie trends like the pouty face that many Instagram and Facebook users. He also is keenly aware that the selfie fad has also helped in recognizing his project, which has been seen in art galleries in Boston and New York City, as well as many others since making its first debut.
Baden joked, “If it wasn’t for the selfie craze, I’d probably be slogging along in anonymity as usual. Which is sort of what I had expected. It’s both personal and universal at the same time. He’s recording a life, or at least one aspect of it that we can all relate to because we’re all in same boat. We’re all going to die.”
Robert Mann, a New York City gallery owner that exhibited Baden’s work on its 10th anniversary, says he’s impressed with how Baden has stuck to his process. “Watching Karl age (gracefully) in front of the camera has been an honor,” he said.
Without telling anyone, Baden decided to start this project the day after Andy Warhol died back on February 23, 1987. Throughout the years, he longs to retake the same photo by posing with the same neutral facial expression. When Baden takes the pictures, he uses the exact same camera too, a 35mm camera, complete with a tripod, backdrop and lighting.
Baden explained, “The act itself is like brushing your teeth. I’ll just take the picture and get on with the rest of my day. It’s not a holy ritual or anything. I have to turn all these variables into constants so that I’m not distracting from the aging process.”